Scriptures

Zechariah 14

Introduction

In this chapter, Zechariah uses many metaphors which shouldn’t be taken literally. He uses metaphors from Jewish history to depict the continued cleansing of God’s people as they struggled throughout history. These are the struggles will take place in the new Jerusalem, that is the church, which Christ established at His coming.

The LORD Comes And Reigns

‘A day of the LORD is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.’ Zechariah 14:1-2

Here we have a picture of all those who gave themselves to Christ, Zechariah 13. The defeat that’s mentioned here, sets the stage for the deliverance of the remnant of the faithful in Zechariah 14:3-5.

The word ‘day’ used here is the Hebrew word, ‘yom’, this isn’t speaking about a specific day but more of a time period, in other words, the time of the Lord. It was going to be a time when the Lord would allow unbelievers to begin their attack against God’s people.

Zechariah says that many will fall away from the faith when times get hard, but, God’s remnant, ‘the rest of the people’, will remain faithful to Him throughout their lives, Acts 14:22 / Galatians 4:29 / 2 Timothy 2:3.

Notice that God will ‘gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it’, this means that God is going to use these wicked nations to bring about His will of repentance in His people Joel 3:2-9 / Joel 3:11.

Daniel wrote that these attacks were started by the ‘little horn’ of the fourth world kingdom, which is Rome and the saints were given into his hand, Daniel 7:21.

This persecution by the Roman Empire against the church lasted for almost two centuries, Revelation 13:7. Despite this persecution, a remnant of the church would always survive, as a remnant of Israel survived the captivities, Micah 5:3 / Zephaniah 2:9.

‘Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. It will be a unique day—a day known only to the LORD—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.’ Zechariah 14:3-7

Whenever any nation goes against God’s people, God will always fight for His people, Habakkuk 3:13 / Micah 1:3-4 / Isaiah 42:13. On that day, isn’t a literal specific day, but any time period in history when God’s people are under attack from the unbelievers.

When His people are under attack, He will fight for them so that, a remnant be delivered, Exodus 14:14. This tells us that the church will never go out of existence, Matthew 16:18.

The Mount of Olives is on the east of Jerusalem, this is used figuratively to speak of God standing and watching over the new Jerusalem, so that He can protect her from all enemies, Isaiah 40:4 / Zechariah 4:7.

Notice the mountain is divided, half is moved toward the north and half toward the south, providing a great valley for the people to flee for safety, 1 Corinthians 10:13 / 2 Peter 2:9.

The two halves of the divided mountain became the mountains that provide the valley of escape. No one knows where Azel is located, although some believe it’s referring to Beth Ezel mentioned by Micah, Micah 1:11.

The earthquake which happened in the days of Uzziah must have been traumatic, as its’s used here to jolt their memories, Amos 1:1. Notice the continued use of the phrase, ‘on that day’, Zechariah is still speaking about the time of the Christ and the establishment of His church.

He says, ‘the LORD my God will come,’ this is the coming of the Lord in judgment on the persecutors of His people, and He will come with His holy ones, Matthew 25:31. The coming would mean disaster for the unbelieving persecutors of God’s people, but deliverance for the saints, Matthew 24:1:35 / Acts 8:1-4 / Revelation 19:11-21.

The time when there will be no light, will be a time of great distress for God’s people, Isaiah 13:10 / Joel 2:2 / Joel 2:10 / Revelation 6:12-13.

However, in the evening there will be light, this implies hope, even in times of despair. God will always look after His people, they will never cease to exist, Psalm 36:9 / John 14:18 / Hebrews 13:5.

‘On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter. The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name. The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up high from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses and will remain in its place. It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.’ Zechariah 14:8-11

When the Messiah arrives the living waters of salvation will flow from Jerusalem, Ezekiel 47:1-12 / Ezekiel 47:2 / Joel 3:18 / John 4:14. Despite all the troubles and persecution God’s people will face, the living waters of our Saviour would always bring forth a continuation of the body of believers, John 7:37-39.

The deity of Christ is depicted in the fact that Zechariah states that ‘the LORD shall be King over all the earth’, Psalm 47:3 / Psalm 47:8 / Isaiah 9:6-7. Jesus declared that He was One with the Father in purpose and mission, John 17:21.

Jesus is now King of kings and Lord of lords, 1 Timothy 6:15, and He’s now reigning over all things for the sake of the church, Zechariah 9:9-10 / Ephesians 1:20-23. He will reign as King until He has subjected all enemies, the last of which is death, 1 Corinthians 15:26-28. He reigns, therefore, throughout this time when enemies attack His people, Romans 5:17.

Also notice that on that day there will be ‘one Lord’, which is another obvious reference to Jesus, Ephesians 4:4-6. The city of God would be exalted above all the surrounding territory of the enemy, Isaiah 2:2-4 / Micah 4:1-4.

Barnes, in his commentary says the following about these Gates.

‘Benjamin‘s gate must obviously be a gate to the north, and doubtless the same as ‘the gate of Ephraim’, the way to Ephraim lying through Benjamin. This too has probably reference to the prophecy of Jeremiah, that ‘the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananel unto the gate of the corner,’ Jeremiah 31:38. ‘Jehoash, king of Israel, broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner-gate, four hundred cubits,’ 2 Kings 14:13 / 2 Chronicles 25:23, after the war with Amaziah. Zechariah seems to speak of Jerusalem, as it existed in his time. For the tower of Hananel, Nehemiah 3:1 still existed, the ‘first gate’ was probably destroyed, since he speaks not of it, but of its ‘place’, the gate of Benjamin and the corner-gate probably still existed, since Nehemiah, Nehemiah 3:1 / Nehemiah 3:3 / Nehemiah 3:6 / Nehemiah 3:13-15 mentions the building of the sheep-gate, the fish-gate, the old gate, or gate of the old city, the valley-gate, the dung-gate, the gate of the fountain; but not these.’

The point is that the walls of the city would extend in every direction, hence providing protection for everyone within. The spiritual Jerusalem, would be exalted above the mountains of other nations, and so, offer spiritual safety to all who would come within her walls, Isaiah 2:2-4.

‘This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.’ Zechariah 14:12

Zechariah paints a very graphic picture of the living dead, Ephesians 2:1-3 / Revelation 3:1, because of their attacks against the people of God. God is going to send a plague upon those who have looked and spoke of ways to destroy the Lord’s church.

Their flesh would rot as they struggled against God’s people, Psalm 12:3 / Isaiah 36:15 / Isaiah 36:18 / Isaiah 37:3-4 / Isaiah 37:17 / Isaiah 37:23 / Isaiah 37:29. Every part of their bodies that was used in opposition to the saints of God would rot away while they persecuted the church.

‘On that day people will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another. Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.’ Zechariah 14:13-15

On that day of the wicked man’s spiritual death they will turn on each other with little respect, however, not only will they be against each other but God’s elect will be against them as well.

This turning against each other has plagued many an empire, including the Jew themselves, Micah 7:2-6. Centuries later, historians tells us that the city of Rome and the Roman Empire also fell because of power struggles within in A.D. 476.

Notice that Judah will also fight at Jerusalem, this means there would be a united stand within the spiritual Jerusalem against the onslaught of all enemies. The church would draw from the wealth of the nations so that they could make their stand against anyone who opposed them.

Even though God’s people were surrounded by great armies with great animals of war, the animals would all perish because of the plague. All things, even animals that are used as weapons to oppose the Lord’s Kingdom, will be overthrown.

‘Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.’ Zechariah 14:16-19

During any onslaught against the church, there would be those who would fall, but there would always those who would survive and remain faithful.

They would go up to worship the King as the Jews and celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. This was the annual feast of the Jews when all went before the Lord for a festive time of rejoicing, Leviticus 23:39-44.

Notice that figuratively speaking, Zechariah says both Jews and Gentiles would go before the Lord with rejoicing and celebration. In other words, some of the ungodly who waged war against God and His kingdom will see the error of their ways and turn to God.

The result of not going before the Lord would be that there would be drought, not blessing from the Lord, Haggai 1:7-11. The Lord would inflict judgment upon those who would work against His eternal plan through the church, Isaiah 60:12 / Micah 5:15.

‘On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the LORD’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the LORD Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD Almighty.’ Zechariah 14:20-21

At this point, Zechariah finishes his argument against those Jews who were being discouraged from building God’s temple. These Jews were commanded to start building again but they had become seriously discouraged, and so God assures them of the great importance in the grand scheme to redeem man the building of the temple plays, Zechariah 4:10.

Zechariah now turns to the true nature of the new Jerusalem. All the horses and instruments of war are cut off from the city and there will be no war within the city, for all would be holy to the Lord, Exodus 28:36-38 / Isaiah 2:1-4 / 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Barnes, in his commentary says the following concerning the pots.

‘The pots are mentioned, together with other vessels of the Lord‘s house Ezekiel 38:3 / 1 Kings 7:45 / 2 Kings 25:14 / 2 Chronicles 4:11 / 2 Chronicles 4:16 / Jeremiah 52:18-19, but not in regard to any sacred use. They were used, with other vessels, for dressing the victims, 2 Chronicles 35:13, for the partakers of the sacrifices. These were to be sacred, like those made for the most sacred use of all, ‘the bowls for sprinkling,’ whence, that sacrificial blood was taken, which was to make the typical atonement.’

Everything which was unclean, that is the Canaanites, would be thrown out, Revelation 21:27 / Revelation 22:15. On that day, the time period when Jesus reigns as King in the kingdom of God all within the gates shall be made clean through the blood of Christ.

There shall be no unclean or sinful person within the church of Jesus Christ. The Lord’s church would now become a place of peace, filled with those who serve and sacrifice to the Lord, Romans 12:1-2.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

1 Corinthians 10:13

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