Zechariah 14: 1 – 21
Zechariah 14 describes the last siege of Jerusalem, the second coming of Christ and the millennial kingdom that follows.
Verse one- “Behold, a day is coming for the Lord when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you.”
After He had answered the disciples question concerning the destruction of the temple Jesus described the events leading up to His Second Advent (Luke 21:5-38). The events He describes are similar to those that will occur in the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem by the Roman army.
Jesus told His disciples the “times of the Gentiles” would continue until the end of the age. Ever since 605 b.c., when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, to the present time, Jerusalem has been under oppression by the Gentiles. There has been a brief time when God’s chosen seemed to have a temporary freedom, it was short lived. Today, the goal of the Gentiles is to control Jerusalem and drive the Jews from the Promised Land.
The Lord told Zechariah, “I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.”
The Apostle John saw “coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty, …And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon” (Revelation 16:13-14, 16).
The world government organized without a fight, through satanic deception and power prior to Christ’s return to earth will be the object of a desperate attack by the major armies of the nations for control of the land God has given to His people. The same power that influenced the organization of this government will gather the armies of the world to challenge this world government.
Zechariah 14:2 clearly contradicts the claim the “times of the Gentiles” was fulfilled when Israel was given the status of a state in what is called Palestine. Since this verse states that Jerusalem will be “trampled on” again in the future, the “times of the Gentiles” will extend into the time when the Messiah returns to earth. The final, universal, everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ will replace man’s world government system. When this day comes, Zechariah is told, The Lord will go forth and fight for Israel as He did against the Egyptians at the Red Sea, when He divided the sea and provided a way of escape for His people. In that day, His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives that is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. When this day comes, the Lord shall come to the place of His ascension in the same manner that He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:11). He will probably come from the east, as He did when He made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, (Matthew 21:1-10). This was the place of His agony and it will be the place of His glory. He will split the Mount of Olives
In verse five the people are told what they are to do:
Verse five – “You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach from Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!”
The valley created by the separation of the Mount of Olives is an escape route and not a place of safety. They will flee as they did during the great earthquake during the reign King Uzziah over Judah (Amos 1:1). Then the Lord will come with all His holy ones with Him, Christians and angels. He comes to fulfill every word that He has spoken.
Verse six – seven – “It will come about in that day that there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the Lord, neither day or night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light.” This phenomena will occur on a day that only the Father knows (Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7).
When that day comes, “living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of it toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it well be in summer as well as in winter.” Here are blessings promised to Jerusalem in the day of the Lord and to all the earth, by virtue of the blessings poured out on Jerusalem, especially to the land of Israel. Jerusalem will be a spring of living waters to the world, half of it flowing east into the Dead Sea and half west into the Mediterranean Sea. This water will flow all year round, even in the summer when most streams in this area dry up. This water is both natural, for the land and spiritual, for the people.
Where the gospel goes, and the graces of God’s Spirit go along with it, there living waters goes. The streams that make glad the city of God make glad the country also and make it like paradise, like the Garden of Eden, which was well watered. The gospel shall spread into all parts of the world, into some that lie remote from Jerusalem one way and others that lie as far off another way; for the dominion of the Redeemer, which was thereby to be set up must be from sea to sea and the earth must be full of the knowledge of the Lord.
Verse nine – “And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.”
The kingdom of the Lord among men will be a universal kingdom. No one will be exempt from His jurisdiction. All humanity will submit to His authority and their allegiance sworn to Him. It will be a united kingdom. All humanity will worship one God only, and not idols, and shall be unanimous in the worship of Him. All false gods shall be abandoned, and all false ways of worship abolished. The Lord will be the centre of their unity, in which they shall all meet, so the scripture will be the rule of their unity, by which they shall all walk. The land of Judea and Jerusalem will be repaired and replenished, and taken under the special protection of the Lord.
Verses ten and eleven – “All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. People will live in it, and there will be no more curses, for Jerusalem will dwell in security.”
The whole land of Judea, which is naturally uneven and hilly, shall be turned into a plain due to the earthquake, from Geba, or Gibeah, about six miles north of Jerusalem, to Rimmon south of Jerusalem, about 35 miles southwest of Jerusalem. The sites mentioned in Jerusalem were on the east, west, north, and south sides of Jerusalem, marking the city’s limits. The whole city will be inhabited.
This country and this city shall both be safe. Those who dwell in the land and the city will never again suffer deportation by being put under the curse, no more curse or separation from God to evil, no more desolating judgments. The people will enjoy security because Jerusalem will never again suffer destruction.
Verses 12-15 describe what will follow verse 3.
Verse twelve – “Now this will be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth.”
Here are judgments threatened against the enemies of Israel. Men that hear of these plagues will be afraid to attack Jerusalem. Those that will fight against God and His people in the day that is coming God will punish them for the affront done to Him, and avenge Jerusalem. They will waste away under grievous and languishing diseases. They shall be walking skeletons; nothing shall remain but skin and bones. The flesh that they pampered and indulged, and made provision for, when they were fed to the full with the spoils of God’s people will rot away. The organs of sight, the outlets of sin, will sink into their heads. Their envious malicious, adulterous eyes, the eyes they had so often fed with spectacles of misery will rot away. The organs of speech, the outlets of sin, God will reckon with them for all their blasphemies against Himself and invectives against His people will rot away.
Verse thirteen – It will come about in that day that a great panic from the Lord will fall on them; and they will seize one another’s hand, and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another.”
Those that have battled against Jerusalem, plundered houses, ravished the women, deported and killed God’s people will be separated and set against one another. Those whose goal is the destruction of God’s people are often made to destroy one another; and every man’s sword is sometimes set against his fellow, by him whose sword they all are. Some think this was fulfilled in the factions and dissensions that were among the Jews, when the Romans were destroying them.
Zechariah is told, “Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered, gold and silver and garments in great abundance.”
The Israelites will also fight their enemies and will gather much spoil from the people they will defeat. The plunder will greatly enrich the people of God. People will come from all parts to share in the prey as when Sennacherib’s army was routed before Jerusalem (Isaiah 33:23).
In the day that is coming the Lord will use three instruments to defeat Israel’s enemies a plague (v. 12), themselves (v. 13), and the Israelites (v. 14). The plague that the Lord will send upon the enemies of Israel will also afflict their animals.
Verse fifteen – “So also like this plague will be the plague on the horse, the mule, the camel, the donkey and all the cattle that will be in those camps.”
The animals in that day will be cut off, as they did in divers of the plagues of Egypt. All the animals of the enemies of God’s people will be cut off when God comes to contend with them shall perish with them, not only beasts used in war, as the horse, but those used for travel, or in the ploughing of the fields. Thus, God will show His indignation against the enemies of His people.
Three things are foretold in verses 16-21.
Verse sixteen – “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.”
Those of the enemies of God’s people that will be left after the final world war will be so sensible of the mercy of God to them in their narrow escape that they shall apply themselves to the worship of the God of Israel, and pay their homage to Him. Those that were not killed in the war will be converted, and this makes their deliverance a mercy indeed, a double mercy. It is a great change that the grace of God makes upon them that found their attempts vain and fruitless, will be an admirer of Jerusalem as were her adversaries, and will come to Jerusalem to worship there with those who they were determined to wipe off the face of the earth.
As some of Christ’s foes shall be made his footstool, so others of them shall be made his friends and when the principle of enmity is slain in them, their former acts of hostility are pardoned and their services are admitted and accepted, as though they had never fought against Jerusalem. They will no longer worship the Molochs and Baals, the kings and lords that the Gentiles worship, the creatures of their own imagination, but the Lord of hosts, the everlasting King, the King of kings, the sovereign Lord of all. In the ordinances of worship, that God Himself has appointed. The worship of the Lord of hosts is referred to as keeping the Feast of Booths.
The life of a good Christian is a constant act of devotion. We must go to Christ our temple with all our offerings, for in Him only is our spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (1 Peter 2:5). If we rest in ourselves, we come short of pleasing God; we must go up to Him, and mention His righteousness only.
Those who neglect the duties of worship shall be reckoned with for their neglect. God will compel them to come and worship before him, by suspending His favors from those that keep not His ordinances.
Verse seventeen – “And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them.”
Some understand it figuratively; the rain of heavenly doctrine shall be withheld, and of the heavenly grace, which should accompany that doctrine. It is a righteous thing with God to withhold the blessings of grace from those that do not attend the means of grace, to deny the green pastures to those that do not attend the Shepherd’s tent. On the other hand, we may take it literally: The gifts of common providence are denied to those that neglect and despise instituted ordinances. Those that neglected to build the temple were punished with the want of rain (Haggai 2:17) and so were those that neglected to attend there when it was built.
There are many who do not worship God, as they should. They go off from God, and then He walks contrary to them. If we omit or postpone the duties God expects from us, it is just with Him to deny the favors we expect from Him.
What will happen to the land of Egypt, to whom the threatening of the lack of rain is no threat? They do not need it they do not desire it. The river Nile waters their land, and makes it fruitful, so what is a punishment to others is none to them.
Verses eighteen and nineteen – If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter; then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the Lord smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feasts of Booths. This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.”
The same plague wherewith other nations are smitten for their neglecting the Lord will involve, restraining the overflowing of the river Nile, which is equivalent to the shutting up of the clouds; or if the river rises as high as it used to do. The Lord has other ways of bringing famine upon them, such as destroying the fruits of their ground, as He did by several of the ten plagues of Egypt. This will be Egypt’s punishment.
Those who think themselves least indebted to, and depending on, the mercy of heaven, cannot think they can avoid the justice of Heaven. It does not follow that those who can live without rain can therefore live without God. Those who forsake the duty forfeit the privilege of communion with God. Those who perform the duties of worship shall have privilege of communion. This is promised in verses 20 and 21.
In the day that coming the most common things will be consecrated to the glory of the Lord. The weapons used in war will no longer be used against the Lord and His people, as they have been, but for Him and them. Even their wars shall be holy wars, their troops serving under God’s banner. Travelers shall have it upon their bridles, with which they guide their horses, as those who desire always to be put in mind of it, by having it continually before them, and to remind them that this is what we ought to be influenced by and make profession of to others, wherever we go.
The furniture of their houses will be consecrated to God, to be employed in His service. The vessels that they use for their own tables shall be used in a religious manner, with sobriety and temperance, devotedness to the glory of God, and a mixture of pious thoughts and expressions. Their meals shall look like sacrifices; they shall eat and drink, not to themselves, but to Him that spreads their tables and fills their cups. What they eat and drink out of these shall nourish their bodies for the service of God; and out of these, they shall give for the relief of the poor. For both in our getting and in our spending we must have an eye to the will of God as our rule and the glory of God as our end.
In the day, coming true worshippers shall worship God in spirit and in truth and not only in Jerusalem. One place will be as acceptable to God as another will. Little regard will be had to the circumstance, provided there is nothing indecent or disorderly, while the substance is religiously preserved and adhered to. Some think it intimates that there should be greater numbers of sacrifices offered than the vessels of the sanctuary would serve for; but, rather than any should be turned back or deferred. They shall make no difficulty at all of using common vessels, as the Levites in a case of necessity helped the priests to kill the sacrifices (2 Chronicles 29:34). In the day coming no ungodliness will be introduced into the sacred things, to corrupt them.
There are those who believe the statement, “there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts” this was fulfilled when Christ drove the buyers and sellers out of the temple. Though those that were Canaanites, strangers and foreigners, shall be brought into the house of the Lord, yet they shall cease to be Canaanites; they shall have nothing of the spirit or disposition of Canaanites in them. On the other hand, that though in this day that is coming people will grow indifferent as to holy vessels, yet they will be very strict in church-discipline, and careful not to admit the profane to special ordinances, but to separate between the precious and the vile, between Israelites and Canaanites.
Yet this will not have its full accomplishment short of the heavenly Jerusalem, into which no unclean thing will enter, for at the end of time, and not before, Christ shall gather out of His kingdom every thing that offends, and the tares and wheat shall be perfectly and eternally separated.
In the Book of Zechariah we have seen the Messiah portrayed as the complete and perfect King by applying six royal functions of the ancient Near Eastern kingship to Him; the mediating Servant (3:8), Priest (6:13, Judge (14:16-19), Warrior (10:4; 14:3-4), Shepherd (11:8-9; 13:7), and Peace bring King (3:10; 9:9-10).
We have been told in the day that is coming there will be holiness in public life, the bells of the horses (v. 20), in religious life, the cooking pots in the Lord’s house (v. 20), in private life, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah (v. 21). The common things become holy when they are used for the glory of the Lord and His service. This is the life we are to live in this day, looking forward to the day coming when every knee will bow before our Lord Jesus Christ and every tongue confess He is King of kings and Lord of lords.