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Zechariah

Zechariah 14 Commentary Verses 1-11

Zechariah 14 Commentary Verses 1-11
Explaining the Book of Zechariah

 
 
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Let’s turn our attention to the 14th – and last! – chapter of the book of the Old Testament prophet Zechariah.

This 14th chapter of Zechariah continues what was started back in chapter 12of this book. It’s an oracle or burden concerning Israel.

And what we’ve seen is that so far most of this three-chapter section has dealt with what’s to come for Israel at the end of what we know as the Great Tribulation – that seven-year period of time in which God pours out his wrath on this world that continually rejects him – and at the end of which he sends Jesus Christ to put down all his enemies and to establish his kingdom on earth for a thousand years.

We’ll study the first eleven verses of chapter 14 today. And I expect that next time we’ll finish this book.

So, let’s read Zechariah 14 and then get into the details.

{Read Zec 14…}

Now, let’s get into the details.

Zechariah 14 Commentary v1 Destruction of Nations who Attack J’lem

In verse 1 we saw that the Lord foretells a time when all the things that have been taken from the Jews are returned to them.

KJV Zechariah 14:1 ¶ Behold, {the/a} day {of the LORD cometh/is coming from the LORD/of the LORD is about to come},

{and/when} {thy spoil/the spoil taken from you/your possessions/your plunder} {shall/will} be divided {in the midst of thee/among you/in your midst/among you}.

Well, what’s this business about stuff being taken from the Jews? When is that going to happen?

According to verse 2, the Jews will be attacked by numerous nations – and for the most part – for a while at least – it will look like the nations are winning against Israel.

2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to {battle/wage war/fight against it};

and the city {shall be taken/will be captured},

and the houses {rifled/plundered/ransacked},

and the women {ravished/raped};

{and/then} half of the city {shall go forth into captivity/exiled},

{and/but} the {residue/rest/remainder} of the people {shall/will} not be {cut off from the city/taken away}.

So, despite the devastation and destruction, about half of the city will remain in it and not be sent out.

And I suppose that if the destruction mentioned in verse 2 were to continue to occur then that remaining half would be sent out of there as well. Except in verse 3 we’re told that at that moment – when all of these awful things are happening – the Lord will fight for Israel.

3 Then {shall the LORD/the LORD will} go {forth/to battle}, and fight against those nations, {as when/just as} he {fought/fights/fought battles} {in/on} {the day of battle/ancient days}.

And we know this to be a reference to Jesus Christ – the Jews’ pierced Messiah whom they’ll look upon as we saw in Zechariah 12. He’s going to come and fight against these nations that are attacking the Jews toward the end of the Tribulation and who are taking spoil from them.

Now, once again, notice who Jesus Christ is identified as being. He’s the LORD – Jehovah – Yahweh – the God of Israel – the God who created everything.

Now, some might think that the Lord’s return is spiritual only. They think that he’s not coming back physically. The Church is somehow going to bring in the Millennium – rather than Jesus Christ coming and doing that. That way of thinking is called Post-Millennialism. Jesus will return after the thousand year reign.

The problem is that verse 4 doesn’t allow for that way of thinking. No – the Lord’s feet are literally going to touch down on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem in those days according to verse 4.

4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is {before/in front of} Jerusalem on the east,

and the mount of Olives {shall cleave in the midst thereof/will be split in its middle/will be split in half} {toward the/from} east {and toward the/to} west, {and there shall be/by/leaving} a very {great/large} valley;

{and/so that} half of the mountain {shall remove/will move} {toward the north/northward}, and {half of it/the other half} toward the south.

Now, the Mount of Olives goes north to south and it’s on the east side of Jerusalem – the city which these nations are going to attack at the end of the Tribulation.

So, what verse 4 is saying is that Jesus Christ – when he returns – is going to set foot on the Mount of Olives. This is the very place from which he ascended according to Acts 1:12. And you remember that those angels who appeared to his disciples who were gazing up into the sky told them that Jesus was going to return just like he left this earth – that is, on this very mountain that Zechariah is speaking of.

So, Jesus will set foot on this hill east of Jerusalem. And when he does, it will cause this hill – the Mount of Olives – to cleave from east to west.

And the Lord describes this with such detail as would prevent us from taking this metaphorically. Think of what happens if you sink your foot into an area of semi-dry mud. Your foot goes down and the mud moves from under your foot.

In the case of Jesus putting his feet down on the Mount of Olives – his touchdown will be east to west. And therefore, the earth underneath him will move up to the north and down to the south.

And the result will be this valley that will stretch from east to west.

Now, on the west side of that valley is going to be where a city is located. What is that city?

It’s Jerusalem which we’ve been discussing.

And what is happening to Jerusalem? Well, the city is being attacked.

And what needs to happen when a city is under attack and overwhelmed and unable to win against its enemy? The inhabitants of the city need to flee.

And so, thankfully the inhabitants of Jerusalem will now have a nice valley through which to flee – this very one described for us already in verse 4. So, that’s what now verse 5 says – these people the Jews will flee through that valley that Jesus’ feet will create.

5 {And ye/You/Then you} {shall/will} {flee/escape}{to/by/through} the valley of {the/My} mountains;

for the valley of the mountains {shall reach unto/will extend to} {Azal/Azel}:

{yea/yes/Indeed}, ye shall flee, {like/just} as ye fled {from before/before/from} the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah:

{and/then} the LORD my God shall come, and all the {saints/holy ones} with {thee/him}.

Now, Azal or Azel is a location that isn’t known with any certainty. It seems that it’s a location on the opposite side of the Mount of Olives from Jerusalem – so it would be to the east of the Mount of Olives. Because that’s where this newly-created valley will extend to from Jerusalem. And the people are making their escape from the city of Jerusalem through this new valley in the Mount of Olives. So, apparently Azal/Azel is eastward.

And Zechariah mentions the earthquake of king Uzziah’s time. This is another fairly obscure reference in this verse – but this earthquake is actually mentioned in the book of Amos and chapter 1 and verse 1 mentions this earthquake. It apparently happened at the city of Hazor in northern Israel in or around 760 B.C. There’s a tel there – or a mound that archaeologists have dug into and there’s a layer in that mound that indicates some massive destruction around that time.

But the point is that the people about 300 years prior to this prophecy had this event that caused them to flee – and the event was so awful that hundreds of years didn’t erase it from their memories. And they’re going to flee at the end of the Tribulation just like they did for this earthquake.

And then the best part – the Lord returns. And he’ll be with his holy ones – his saints. That certainly will include us. But even more amazingly it will include angels.

And of course as we’ve been reminded of several times in this book, this is Jesus Christ who is to come – yet again at the end of the Tribulation. He will come with his holy ones and deliver his people the Jews who had fled eastward through the new valley carved into the Mount of Olives which he had just created for them.

Zechariah 14 Commentary v6 Unique Day

And when Jesus returns there will be at least one very unusual day in terms of celestial activity, according to verses 6 and 7.

6 ¶ {And it shall come to pass in/In/On} that day, {that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:/there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle./there will be no light– the sources of light in the heavens will congeal./there will be no light, no cold or frost.}

7 {But it/For it/It} {shall be one day which shall be/will be a unique day which is/will happen in one day (a day} known to the LORD,

{not day, nor night:/neither day nor night/not in the day or the night/without day time or night time} {but it shall come to pass, that at/but in the} evening time {it shall/there will} be light.

So, apparently when Jesus returns to deliver the Jews there will be this disturbance in the heavens that would be visible from earth. The details of how this is going to work isn’t clear – and that’s to be expected because after all this will be a day “known to the Lord” – as in, known to him and understood by him alone.

And yet, the Lord gives us this general notice that in that day, the earth’s atmosphere will be dark during the day and bright at night. It’s as if the current order will be totally switched around in that regard – at least for a time surrounding these events.

Zechariah 14 Commentary v8 Living Waters

And not only will the sky be presenting some very interesting phenomena, but the ground will be as well, according to verse 8.

8 ¶ {And it shall be in/And in/Moreover on/On} that day, that living waters shall {go/flow} out {from/of} Jerusalem;

half of them {toward/to} the {former/eastern} sea, and half of them toward the {hinder/western} sea:

{in/both in} summer {and/as well as} in winter shall it be.

Now, the former or eastern sea would be the Dead Sea. And the hinder or western sea is the Mediterranean Sea. There is going to be water coming out of Jerusalem pouring out into both of these seas.

Now, Jerusalem is about 32 miles away from the Mediterranean Sea and 23 miles away from the Dead Sea – just for perspective and help in understanding how far this water is going to be flowing when Jesus returns.

There is a spring in Jerusalem today called the Gihon Spring. It provides water for the city and has done so for as long as there’s been civilization there. But the Gihon Spring is not sending out water to both of these seas mentioned in verse 8. So, in the future either something is going to happen to this spring to make it pour our more water – or this living water is something else that God has planned for this city.

By the way, the Gihon Spring is what they call an intermittent or a rhythmic spring, which means that it doesn’t constantly flow. It flows three to five times each day in winter, twice a day in summer, and once a day in autumn.

But this living water that will flow in the last days will be constant. It won’t dry up. It will be constantly running and flowing and providing water to these two seas “in summer and in winter.”

Now, there’s one problem with this arrangement. Currently to get from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, a stream of water would need to climb uphill to get over the Mount of Olives. And water doesn’t do that.

But why won’t that be a problem in the last days when Jesus returns? Because as we’ve learned already Jesus is going to make a valley through that Mountain, allowing the water to flow from Jerusalem into the Dead Sea.

In addition to that, the Lord is going to physically elevate Jerusalem and flatten the surrounding areas as we’re going to hear about later in this chapter.

So, you might look at this promise in verse 8 and think it’s metaphorical because you can’t see how it would happen right now. But I think it’s quite literal and we can expect it to happen when Jesus returns.

Zechariah 14 Commentary v9 Jesus Will Reign

And return he will – according to verse 9.

9 ¶ And the LORD {shall/will/will then} be king over {all the/the whole} earth:

{in/on} that day {shall there be one LORD, and his name one./the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one./the LORD will be seen as one with a single name./there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.}

The Jews will see Jesus in those days and they will no longer pretend that Jesus is not Yahweh. They will be seen to be one. To see Jesus is to see the Father. Jesus and the Father are one. The Word was with God and the Word was God.

In that day when Jesus reigns over his people the Jews and over the whole world there won’t be any folks claiming, “Well, I believe God, and I think Jesus was a good teacher, but I don’t believe he’s God.” No, Jesus’ true character will be known and undeniable by all.

Zechariah 14 Commentary v10 The Land Flattened

And then as we’ve noted already, the topography of the land will change when Jesus returns, according to verse 10.

10 ¶ {All the/The whole} land {shall/will} {be turned as/be changed into/change and become like} {a plain/the Arabah} from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem:

{and it/but Jerusalem/and Jerusalem} {shall/will} {be lifted up,/rise/be raised up} and {inhabited in her place/remain on its site/stay in its own place}, from {Benjamin’s/the Benjamin} gate {unto/as far as/to} the {place/site} of the first gate, {unto/and on to} the corner gate, and from the tower of {Hananeel/Hananel} {unto/to} the {king’s/royal} winepresses.

So, we’ve already seen how the living water from Jerusalem will empty into the Dead Sea. And now this verse explains how water will get from Jerusalem to the Mediterranean Sea.

Geba and Rimmon are both west of Jerusalem – between that city and the Mediterranean Sea. That area west of Jerusalem will be flattened but Jerusalem will actually be elevated.

And the geographical references in Jerusalem given in verse 10 – especially the last two references of the tower of Hananeel and the king’s winepresses – seem to indicate a north-to-south orientation. From the point farthest to the north to the point farthest to the south, Jerusalem will be raised topographically.

So, that’s how the water is going to get from Jerusalem into the Mediterranean Sea.

Zechariah 14 Commentary v11 J’lem Safely Inhabited

Now, we shouldn’t get the wrong picture – as if Jerusalem is going to be suspended dangerously up into the air and thus be uninhabitable. Somehow, the elevation will not detract people from dwelling in that city when Jesus Christ returns, according to verse 11.

11 {And men shall dwell/People will live/And people will settle} in it,

and there {shall/will} {be no more utter destruction/no longer be a curse/no longer be the threat of divine extermination};

{but/for} Jerusalem {shall be safely inhabited/will dwell securely}.

So, with Christ dwelling in the midst of that city there will be no more threat of destruction – either from hostile man or from the Lord. There will be true safety and security and peace. This is a happy ending in the truest sense of that phrase.

And yet, we’re not at the end just yet – the end of this book, at least. So, next time we’ll Lord-willing get through to the end of this chapter and this book and, really, the end of the world as we know it – a world apart from Christ’s rule over what’s rightfully his.

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