Zechariah 14 - Outline of Zechariah (MENU page)
III. Prophetic Burdens (ch. 9-14)
  1. The Burden of the Shepherd for His wayward flock
    Israel's Messiah: Redeeming, Rejected (ch. 9-11)
  2. The Burden for Israel when they turn to their Shepherd
    Israel's Messiah: Received, Reigning (ch. 12-14)
    1. Jerusalem's Defence (ch. 12:1-9)
      • The nations trembling
      • The LORD defending
      • His people standing in His strength
    2. Israel's Cleansing (12:10 - 13:9)
      • through Holy Spirit enabled recognition of a pierced Son, an opened fountain
      • from idolatry & false prophecy
      • by their Shepherd's wounds
      • through refining flames
    3. Jerusalem's Deliverance (ch. 14)
      • The LORD returns...
      • ...fights...
      • ...refreshes...
      • ...reigns...
      • ...receives true worship
1. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2 For 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
{lit., a residue} of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh...-
Our attention has been directed to the Day of the LORD continually in this closing section of Zechariah. Chapters 9-11 looked forward, from the perspective of Christ's first coming, to the final conflicts of the Time of Jacob's Trouble. Victory would be won by the rejected King. Cleansing and restoration would be secured by the Shepherd who was cut off for the sins of His people. Chapters 12-13, looked forward to the time of Christ's second coming, when, on the verge of annihilation, Israel will recognize their Defender as the smitten Shepherd, and will be cleansed and strengthened to stand as His people. Chapter 14 takes another look at Christ's second coming, and the effect that His physical Presence will have upon the earth, not only upon Israel, but upon all nations, when He takes His rightful place as King.
However, the Day of the LORD does not dawn bright. Isa 13:6; Eze 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:11; 3:14
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle...- cp. Zech 12:2,3
...thy spoil shall be divided {possessions plundered} in the midst of thee {ie., in the midst of Jerusalem}...
...the city shall be taken... the houses rifled... the women ravished {ie., raped}...-
It will be a dark day for Israel. Zeph 1:12-18
...half {of the city's population} shall go forth {depart} into captivity {exile}...-
Many will lose their lives, but a remnant {'a residue'} will escape. This is not the other half, but 'the third part' (of Zech 13:8,9), which will be further refined (cp. Isa 6:13; Rom 9:27-29).
3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations,
as when he fought in the day of battle.
{cp. Ex 15:1-7}
4 And 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.
5 And ye shall flee [to]
{ie., through} 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.
Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations...-
When the LORD fights in behalf of His people (Psa 121:1,2), it will be a dark day for Israel's enemies (Isa 59:15-21; Obad 1:15-17).
and his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east...-
  • Whose feet? These feet belong to the LORD {the One who is and was and evermore shall be}, the King and Shepherd who was previously rejected by His people, but whom they now recognize as the One who died for their sins and, yet, ever lives to deliver them (Zech 12:10; 13:1,6,7; cp. Rev 1:7,8,18, and 15). His feet of burning brass touch the earth first, for the first order of business, at His second coming, will be to exercise judgment and to expunge evil.
  • To what specific place does He come? The mount of Olives, from which the Lord Jesus Christ ascended, and to which He will return, literally, bodily, and in the same manner in which He departed (Acts 1:9-12).
  • From which direction? From east of Jerusalem. As the Glory of the LORD departed from the Temple toward the east via the Mount of Olives (Eze 11:23), He will return to Jerusalem from the east (Eze 43:1,2).
        As these notes are being written, Israel is looking to the West for help and support. But the western nations will fail them. Their help comes from the LORD (Psa 121:1,2), and in the day that they look to Him, He will come again to them upon the Mt. of Olives.
...the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west...-
The LORD's coming will have a profound effect upon the earth itself, and will be a direct answer to the prayer of the believing remnant, at their time of desperate need (cp. Isa 64:1-4, read all of Isa 64 for the full prayer).
    The Jordan River and the Dead Sea are part of the Great Rift Valley which extends from Syria into Africa. It is not hard to imagine the mount of Olives being divided by a great earthquake. The Scriptures foretell such an event near the conclusion of the Tribulation (cp. Isa 29:6-8; Rev 16:18-21).
    But do you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will come again, as stated here? Are you living in anticipation of His return? That is the question that Jesus addressed, in Mark 11:21-24 (also Mat 21:20-22), when he referred to "this mountain." On that occasion, Jesus was returning to Jerusalem after spending the night on the Mount of Olives. In light of the passage before us, it seems probable that He was speaking in specific, rather than general, terms regarding faith and mountains. There will come a day, when those, who have faith in God's sure promises, will see "this mountain" (the Mount of Olives) move and the sea lapping at its base, in fulfillment of the Word of God, in which they trusted (cp. Zech 14:4,8).
...ye shall flee [to] {ie., through} the valley of the mountains...-
The earthquake (caused by the LORD's coming), while leveling cities and discomfiting God's enemies, will provide a way of escape for God's people.
    The location of Azal is not known. Some suggest it is near Jerusalem, others say this refers to Petra. However, wherever it may be, it is a place of refuge, for the name 'Azal' means "to lay aside, to reserve, to set apart." (Mat 24:15-22; Rev 12:6).
    An historic earthquake in the days of king Uzziah (which occurred 300 years before Zechariah's day) was so devasting, that it is recalled here to illustrate the intensity of God's power both to exercise wrath and to protect His own, in that future day. cp. Amos 1:1,2; Isa 42:13-15; Jer 25:30-33; Joel 3:16
and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
At His coming, the nation of Israel will be resurrected from spiritual death and rescued from physical annihilation (Eze 37:11-14; Hos 6:2). There are several possible explanations for the 'three days' in Hos 6:2 (all have validity):
  • The expression 'two days...the third day...' simply means 'soon, it will not be long, it will seem like just a few days.'
  • The restoration of Israel was secured by their King's death (the price of redemption) and through His resurrection (cp. Hos 3:2-5; 1Cor 15:3,4; Isa 26:19-21; Acts 3:18-21).
  • The 'days' represent two thousand years of gentile dominion, followed by the one thousand years of the Messiah's millenial Kingdom (2Pet 3:8).
  • The three days represent three periods of Israel's exposure to the 'sun' of God's glory. The Glory of God was present with His people, in the Tabernacle and the first Temple (Ex 25:21,22; 1Kin 8:10,11; Psa 84:11). But the Glory departed, because the nation refused to honor Him. The Glory of God came to the second Temple (Hag 2:9; Mal 3:1). But the nation rejected Him, and He returned to His place. When 'the Sun of righteousness' rises upon them again (for the third time), there will be no setting of that Sun. Mal 3:2,3; 4:1,2; Hos 5:15 - 6:1-3; 13:14; Isa 60:19,20; Zech 6:12,13
6 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the light shall not be clear, [nor] dark:
7 But 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.
it shall be one day... not day, nor night...-
The LORD's conquest of His foes will occur on "a unique day," like none which the world has ever seen. Yet, like the unique day in which He gave victory to Joshua (Josh 10:12-14), the day, of the LORD's vengeance, will be sufficient in length and in demonstration of His power, to culminate in His victory. The unusual illumination will be the combined effect of shaken natural lighting (Isa 13:10; Joel 2:10,30-31; Mat 24:29) and of the supernatural glory of the One taking vengeance on His enemies (2The 1:8).
it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD...- cp. Mat 24:36; Acts 1:7
8. And 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.
9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth:
in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
10 All 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.
11 And [men] shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction;
but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one...-
Having conquered all enemies, the One whose feet stood upon the Mount of Olives (the Lord Jesus Christ) takes His place as King, not only in Jerusalem, but "over all the earth." The deity of the King is emphasized, for three times in this chapter, we are told that the King is Jehovah (cp. vs.9,16,17).
    The statement that there is but "one LORD, and His name one" indicates that "in that day" there will be no counterfeit religions and no schisms between believers. cp. Isa 11:9; Hab 2:14; Zeph 3:9
in that day... living waters shall go out from Jerusalem...-
In addition to the flow of spiritual Truth, there will be physical waters of healing which will flow toward 'the former sea' (ie., the Dead Sea) and 'the hinder sea' (ie., the Mediterranean) and from there to all nations (Eze 47:1-12; Rev 22:1,2). The living waters will flow year round, diminished neither by freezing (in winter) nor by evaporation (in summer), just as the tree of life will bear fruit 12 months of the year.
all the land shall be turned as a plain... it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place...-
The terrain surrounding Jerusalem will be flattened and elevated to form a great plateau, which will be set apart as the King's portion, and as the platform for His City and Temple, from which the living waters will flow (cp. Isa 40:3-5; Eze 45:1-5)
...and it {Jerusalem} shall be lifted up... from Benjamin's gate... and from the tower of Hananeel...-
In the old city of Jerusalem, the tower of Hananeel marked the northern tip of the city and of the Temple platform. Nearby, to the west of the tower, was one of the city's northernmost gates, the gate of Benjamin (cp. Jer 20:2). This gate is also called the gate of Ephraim, since it was oriented toward the territories of both tribes. This tower and gate are mentioned in Neh 3:1 and 12:39 (the 'sheep gate' was to the east of the tower). The landmarks given (in v.10) trace the periphery of the city counter-clockwise from Benjamin's gate, and clockwise from the tower, meeting at the city's southernmost corner. As Zechariah recorded the prophecy, the second Temple had been rebuilt, but the city and its walls were still in ruins. The rebuilding of the walls, under Nehemiah's leadership 40 years later (Neh ch. 2 - 5), would only dimly foreshadow the city's future restoration under the Messiah's reign. The walls which Nehemiah restored would be cast down again, but Jerusalem and its inhabitants will endure when established by their Great King (cp. Jer 31:35-40).
...there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited...-
The words "utter destruction" are from the word HB=charem, 'a thing appointed' to destruction. This is equivalent to "there shall be no more curse" (Rev 22:3). In the Kingdom of Righteousness, where redeemed men are removed from the curse of sin, God's people will dwell securely, free from the manifold effects of sin, including terrorism and wars (cp. Gen 3:17; Deu 11:26-28; 28:1-14 versus 28:15-68; also see Jam 4:1; 1Cor 15:56,57; Gal 3:13).
    But the Kingdom of Righteousnes will not fully come in, until the King "shall have put down all rule and all authority and power" that is contrary to His reign (cp. 1Cor 15:24,25). Verses 12-15 (below) view again the final conflict at the end of the Tribulation, and may also foresee the final rebellion at the close of the Millenial Kingdom (Rev 20:7-9)
12 And this shall be the plague
wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought
{or, that fight} 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.
13 And 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.
14 And 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.
15 And 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.
...their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet...-
The LORD will destroy the soldiers arrayed against Jerusalem with a terrible plague {HB=maggephah, slaughter, pestilence, fatal stroke}. The sudden disintegration of the living flesh of standing men could be the effect of nuclear weapons, perhaps a neutron bomb. However, such radiation would seem superfluous compared to the Radiance that will smite this army (2The 2:8).
    In the OT, several different Hebrew words are translated by the English word 'consume.' In most cases, the sense of the word is the utter destruction of the thing which is 'consumed,' which is brought to its end, terminated, completely used up, exhausted, devoured, and finished. The righteous wrath of the Holy God utterly destroys and purges away all that is impure (eg., Ex 32:10; Deu 4:24; 9:3; Psa 37:20; Heb 12:29).
    Here, the word translated "consume away" (HB=maqaq) means: to decay, rot, fester, or pine away. It describes the process of consumption, which leads to that final end. Where this word occurs in the OT, there is a consciousness that 'iniquity' {guilt, perversity, depravity} has caused the terminal condition (cp. Lev 26:39; Psa 38:5 'corrupt'; Eze 4:17; 24:23; 33:10).
    Thus, a multitude of individual sinners, suddenly aware of their corruption in the light of the LORD's Holiness, will melt away before Him, like maggots exposed to the noonday sun. The soldiers, who had stood strong, proud and united in their rebellion against the Giver and Sustainer of life, will observe their personal powers fade away (cp. Joh 19:11). Their willful blindness will become profound, in the light of His Truth. Their blaspheming tongues will become silent, at the sentence of His Word. (cp. Joh 1:1-4; Col 1:17; 2Pet 3:7; Rev 19:15,21)
    The same plague that neutralizes these soldiers will also neutralize the weapons (including animals) which they wield against Jerusalem (cp. Zech 12:4b). A similar fate will befall 'the host of heaven' (ie., the unclean spirits which motivate these human forces, according to Isaiah's prophecy of the Day of the LORD, in Isa 34:1-8 (where 'dissolved' in v.4 is HB=maqaq).
...a great tumult {ie., confusion, panic} from the LORD shall be among them...
...and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour {ie., peer, comrad}...-
The LORD will confuse and panic the enemy forces, so that comrads will turn to battle against one another (cp. Zech 12:4a). It was through similar confusion that the LORD gave Gideon and his few men victory over a great army (Judg 7:22).
16. And 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.
17 And 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.
18 And 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.
19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt,
and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
...every one that is left {ie., that remains} of all the nations which came against Jerusalem...-
Following the devastation of the Tribulation and the final battle of Armageddon, earth's population will be greatly diminished. Like the Jewish remnant (Zech 13:8,9; 14:2), only a remnant of Gentiles will survive to enter the millenial Kingdom.
...shall even go up {to Jerusalem}... to worship the King, the LORD of hosts...-
The King is the LORD of hosts. The Messiah's deity is reflected in:
The formerly heathen nations will come together to worship Him. cp. Zech 8:20-23; Isa 60:6-9; 66:18-23
...and to keep the feast of tabernacles.-
The Feast of Tabernacles, which occurrs annually on the fifteen day of the seventh month, follows the Feast of Trumpets (on the first day) and the Day of Atonement (on the tenth day). Lev 23:24,27,34-36
    As seven is the number of completion, the feasts of the seventh month depict the completion of God's salvation of His people. The Feast of Trumpets spoke prophetically of the future regathering of Israel. The Day of Atonement, with its sacrifices for sin, spoke of the final price of redemption. The Feast of Tabernacles speaks of the blessings, which God has secured for His redeemed people, including:
  • His Deliverance, from their former bondage (Lev 23:41-43)
  • His Price, paid for their redemption (The inestimable value of that price is illustrated by the multiple sacrifices associated with the Feast of Tabernacles, Num 29:12-38)
  • His Provision, completely satisfying all of their needs (Deu 16:13-16)
  • His Presence, dwelling among His people (Lev 26:11). Emmanuel 'dwelt' {lit., tabernacled} among us, when He came to pay the price of redemption (Joh 1:14,29). It is through Him, that the blessings celebrated in the Feast of Tabernacles come (cp. Joh 7:2,37-39). He will 'dwell' {lit., tabernacle} in the midst of His people, when His work of salvation is brought to completion (Rev 7:13-15; 21:3).
...whoso will not come up... to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.-
There is nothing cruel about this sentence. Since the LORD is the Giver of all good things, those who refuse to honor Him should expect to be deprived of His blessings. cp. Deu 11:16,17
...if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague...-
The warning to the gentile nations includes a practical application: 'For example, if Egypt goes not up... they will have no rain...'
    There may also be a more pointed warning here for Egypt, which receives little rain, but is watered by the Nile River. They should not imagine themselves immune, as being not dependent upon rain, for the LORD can still apply 'the plague' (of v.12), since He is the source of life itself.
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.
21 Yea, 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.
In that day shall there be... HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD...-
In the Kingdom of Righteousness, everyone and everything will be set apart to serve the LORD. Nothing will be profane or common, for everything will be for Him. The bridles on the horses will be as dedicated to the LORD as the crown upon the High Priest's head (cp. Ex 28:35-38; 39:30,31). Even the least household vessel will be suitable for service in the Temple. (Such personal holiness should characterize God's people today, as they live in anticipation of 'that day.' cp. 1Cor 3:16,17; Col 3:17,22-24; 1Pet 2:5,9; 1Joh 3:2,3; Rev 1:6; 20:6)
in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.-
The Canaanites were 'aliens from the commonwealth of Israel' being their historic enemies, who served false gods with fleshly perversions. No person with such characterisitics will have any part in the Kingdom of Christ. cp. Eze 44:9; 1Cor 6:9-11; Eph 2:11-22
    The word 'Canaanite' also means 'merchant' (cp. Hos 12:7, where 'merchant' is HB=canaan). Those who would make merchandise of the things of God will also be excluded (cp. Mat 21:12,13; Joh 2:13-16; Rev 21:23-27).

This concludes the study in Zechariah.
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