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The Lord Comes And Reigns (ch. 14:1 - 21)                                            

In Zechariah 14 we see hints of what has been commonly called "the Thousand Year Rule of Christ."  This is a period of time that Jesus, after He returns to Israel, will not only rule Israel but the entire world.  Some believe this period of time is a literal thousand years while others believe the thousand years is symbolic of a period of time.  Over the years I have believed that this is a literal thousand years.  


Verse 1 tells us of a plunder that will take place at "the day of the Lord" which I believe is at the end of this age, that Futurists call the Great Tribulation.  When studying the term the "day of the Lord" in the Bible you will note that there are two ways in which the term is used.  It is seen as one particular and specific day, the very day in which Jesus returns to earth. The day of the Lord is also seen in the Bible as the last seven years of this age, also known as the time of Jacob's trouble.  See Jeremiah 30:7.


The plundering seen in verse 1 is devastating.  The city will see much harm and damage to it but it will not be totally destroyed.  Jerusalem , being the city of God as seen in the Bible, will eventually be spared but not until half of it is destroyed.      


Verses 2 and 3 explain what happens in this day, which I believe is the very end of the time known as the period of Jacob's trouble or the Great Tribulation.  This tells us that half of Jerusalem will be taken by the opposing armies.  The other half will escape.  Women will be raped.  This is a very difficult time for the people who live in Jerusalem so we need to understand that in the Great Tribulation, before Jesus returns to earth, the nations of the world will reach Jerusalem and plunder half of the city as an act of divine judgment.  This is part of the final judgment on Israel that is meant to cause her to fall to her knees in submission to their God. The spoil, that is, that which the nations get from their attack on Jerusalem will be divided among the attacking nations.  There is much debate concerning the war spoken of in Ezekiel 38 and 39.  Is that war this battle?  I cannot say for sure that this war is the Ezekiel 38 and 39 war.  There is one similarity and that is the reason for the Ezekiel war is to divide the spoil from Israel and Jerusalem, as it states here.  


We need to distinguish these words from the words written at the end of the last chapter.  Here the text is speaking of Jerusalem , and in the last chapter it was speaking of Israel.  In chapter 13 one third of Israel were spared, here, one half of the population of Jerusalem survived the attack.


We should note in verse 2 that it is God that gathers the nations of the world here against Jerusalem, just as He is seen doing in Ezekiel 38 concerning the nation from the north coming down to attack Israel.  God works behind the scenes to cause these things to happen.  This is not visible to the carnal human eye, but it is visible to the spiritual eye.  God is heavily involved in the affairs of our nations.  The secular man cannot see it, but for those of us who know our Bible, we do see it clearly.  


Verse 2 cannot be speaking of 70 A. D. when the Roman army leveled Jerusalem to the ground.  There wasn't anything or anyone left then.  The text clearly states that half of those in Jerusalem will escape this attack.   


When the text speaks of half escaping, many Futurists believe they escape to Petra which is in Jordon.  We know from other Scriptures that Jordon will not fall under the spell of the anti-christ.  Some Futurists believe that Jesus will first come to Petra and gather His people before He sets His feet upon the Mount of Olives .  Others believe just the opposite.  Petra is about sixty miles north of the Gulf of Aqaba .  It is southeast of the Dead Sea, in present day Jordan.       


We need to note how horrible of an attack this is.  Houses will be robbed and women will be raped.  When the spoil is taken, that includes the rape of women.        


Verse 3 tells us that after this siege of Jerusalem Jesus comes to rescue the Jews and He Himself fights off the nations of the world with the word of His mouth, but, He does not come until Jerusalem has been attacked by the nations of the world. This must happen first.


In Daniel 11:41 we see that Edom, Moab, and Ammon, which is present day Jordan does not cave into the anti-Christ's authority.  Also, in Isaiah 63:1 it appears that Jesus might first come to Bozrah before He returns to Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives . Bozrah is located about twenty five miles southeast of the Dead Sea , in present day Jordon.  The name of that city today is Buseirah.  Jeremiah 49:12 and 22, along with Amos 1:12, predicts Bozrah's doom.        


Verse 4 tells us that Jesus will stand on the Mount of Olives .  This verse is often thought of in terms that Jesus comes down from the sky and stands on the Mount of Olives, and the mere touch of His feet causes the earthquake that is mentioned here, but the text doesnít say that.   It merely says that He will stand on the Mount of Olives.  So those who believe that Jesus comes first to Petra say He comes with the Jews to Mount Zion from Petra.   


At some point, after Jesus stands on the Mount of Olives that is east of Jerusalem, the mountain will be split in two, forming a valley between the two haves of the mountain. The valley will run from east to west.  There will be a northern mountain and a southern mountain.  As I have said before, this will be a geological change to the geography of the Middle East that will be to benefit of Israel during the thousand year rule of Jesus on earth.  If you read Ezekiel 47 you will note that a river flows from the newly built temple which runs into this valley and splits; half to the Dead Sea and half to the Mediterranean Sea .  This river will do at least two important things for Israel .  It will provide water access to the Mediterranean Sea and provide the Dead Sea with life.     


I have just mentioned that some suggest that Jesus will come to Bozrah before He comes to the Mount of Olives.  Others suggest that He will come to the Mount of Olives first because of verse 5 where God says that the Jews will flee from Jerusalem because of the newly formed valley.  It is quite obvious the God intervenes on behalf of Israel by making this valley as a way for the one half of the residence of Jerusalem to escape the attacking army. 


Concerning where Jesus first steps on the earth at His return is really hard to know, although some believe they have it all figured out. 


We see the city of Azel in verse 5.  This appears to be a town east of Jerusalem and east of the Mount of Olives .   


We should note that there is a fault line under the Mount of Olives that runs from east to west.  This fault line runs right into where the eastern gate is, the gate where some believe Jesus will some day as He returns to Jerusalem.  


Concerning this earthquake, it produces a valley.  If you read Ezekiel 40 through 48 you will note the time of the Millennium where it speaks of a river that flows from under the temple of God through this newly formed valley.  The river will go west to the Mediterranean Sea and east to the Dead Sea.   


Concerning fault lines in this area of the world there is one major fault line that runs from Syria down through Israel, Saudi
Arabia, Egypt and into Africa.  It is called the African Rift.  The part of this rift that runs through Israel is called the Jordan Valley Rift.  There is another fault line that is somewhat connected to the African Rift and that is called the Jerusalem Fault line. It is this fault line that will cause the earthquake seen in this passage.   


Also in verse 5 it says that on that day God will come with all the holy ones with Him.  I believe the "holy ones" can refer to both angels and saints because the Hebrew words are translated both ways in the Old Testament.  There are sufficient New Testament passages that state both saints and angels will return with Jesus. 


We should also note that there are various ways the English Bibles translate verse 5.  Some say that the Jews will flee from Jerusalem through this newly formed valley while others say that they will be prevented from fleeing in this valley.  It seems hard to translate this verse from the Hebrew text.  From my study to date, it appears that more people believe that the Jews will flee instead of being stopped as they flee the city.  


Verse 6 and 7 are very interesting.  It speaks of a certain day, and this is a specific day, not a time period.  It is the day when Jesus sets His feet on Mount Zion .  It will be a day like no other day in history, and what it is really like, only God knows.  The text says that it will be a unique day.  It will not have a normal day time or night time. As in verse 5 there is textual difficulties in how translators translate this verse.  The idea of light, darkness, and frosty cold is hard to translate.  Whatever this day is like only the LORD, or Yahweh, knows what this day will be like.  Whatever this verse suggests, one thing we can safely say is that this is an ecological disaster.    


In verse 8 we learn that in that day, after Jesus puts His feet on the Mount of Olives, living water will flow out of Jerusalem .  It will flow to the western sea, that is the Mediterranean, and it will flow to the eastern sea, that is, the Dead Sea .  It will produce much needed water to the land itself and make Israel more agriculturally prosperous   


One might wonder if this water spoken of here has anything to do with the fountain in chapter 13 verse 1 that will cleanse the nation of Israel .  Maybe the Jews will have a massive baptismal service in this water.  I do believe the water in this chapter is real literal water.  The fountain in chapter 13 might well be symbolic, speaking of the blood of Jesus.


Verse 9 tells us at this point in history the Lord, or Jesus, will be king over all the earth.  The battle against the nations has been won and Jesus will set up His kingdom on earth in Jerusalem .  In that day there will be only one Lord, and He will be Jesus.  His name will also be one.  There will be no more division among Israel , among the church, or among the nations.


Verses 10 and 11 show a Jerusalem that has been rebuilt.  It says that Jerusalem will never be destroyed again.  It will be the capital city of the world.


Verse 10 speaks of another geological restructuring, possibly due to the earth quake.  It says that from Gaba, which is about six miles north of Jerusalem, to Rimmon, which is thirty three miles south of Jerusalem, will be like Arabah.  Arabah is the land south of the Dead Sea and north of the Gulf of Aqaba.  Petra , which is on the edge of Arabah is the highest place in the area. 


Verse 11 says that Jerusalem will be inhabited forever.  I would suggest that forever means through to the end of the thousand year rule of Christ and probably in the era known as the New Earth as seen at the end of the book of Revelation.  There you will see the New Jerusalem come down from heaven.  


Verses 12 and 13 speak of the severe judgment 
that will come on the people of the nations who fought 
against Israel.  I believe this is speaking of the soldiers who are fighting against Israel and Jerusalem.  Literall, their eyes will be rotting in the streets while they are still alive.  They will grasp each others hand, looking for help, but they will find none.  The text says they will be totally panic stricken as they attack one another.  Throughout the Old Testament one way in which judgment falls on a nation is when those in that nation fight against each other as we see here.  Civil war is often seen as God's judgment on a nation.  Many believe that the American Civil War was actually a divine act of judgment on America for its slave industry.     


For some Bible teachers, these two verses suggest the explosion of a neutron bomb.  Neutron bombs destroy all protein but leave things without protein.  Thus you have bodies as described in these verses.  You have eyes rotting in people's head.  The same people who suggest nuclear warfare here see the same in Ezekiel 39:9 and 10 where Ezekiel predicts that weapons will be turned into fuel.  They suggest that nuclear weapons will be turned into nuclear energy.     


The above being said, the text here says that it is the Lord that causes what we see.  They very presence, the Word of His mouth, or, the "sword of His mouth" as the book of Revelation puts it, could cause this destruction in the bodies of people, and not a neutron bomb.    


In verse 14 we learn that Judah will aid in some kind of fighting while the wealth of the surrounding nations will be collected for the Jews.  I would suggest that Judah would be the territory around Jerusalem because that is where Judah existed in the Old Testament.


Verse 15 says that the plague that will hit the nations of the earth will even hit the animals.  I can certainly see how these verses can be understood in terms of nuclear warfare.    


After all the fighting and plagues are over, in verse 16, we learn something about what we have termed "the Millennial rule of Christ" that lasts one thousand years.  It tells us that there will be survivors from the nations that attack Israel, and these survivors will come to Jerusalem once a year to worship King Jesus.  These are clearly Gentile people in the nations.  They will celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This is the feast that is called the feast of ingathering, the gathering of the crops, the harvest celebrated in our September.  The feast that will be celebrated in Jerusalem by the Gentiles will be the feast that denotes the gathering of Godís harvest of people from all nations.  Will this be the only feast of the seven Jewish feasts that will be celebrated in these thousand years?  That is a difficult question to answer but if you read the last eight chapters of the book of Ezekiel, and, if you understand these chapters to be fulfilled during the thousand year rule of Christ on earth, then, in one way or another, all seven feasts might be celebrated, of course, with their New Testament, post cross meaning.  They might well be celebrated in terms of their fulfilled meaning.      


Verse 17 suggests that during the thousand year rule of Jesus on earth people will still have freedom of choice. The text says that if anyone, any nation, does not come to Jerusalem to worship God will cause the rain to stop falling on their lands.  Jesus is in total control during this time, yet it appears that people will still have the opportunity to disobey Him, but with consequences.  This seems to suggest the possibility of national disobedience, something the book of Revelation states that will penetrate the nations at the end of the thousand years.   


For some reason in verse 18 God specifies Egypt .  If Egypt does not come up to Jerusalem , it will be smitten with a drought.  Some might think that Egypt is representative of all nations here, as it often is in Scripture, but I donít think so.  I think it is specifically speaking of the country of Egypt since it is contrasted with the nations of the world in this passage.   It might well be because Israel and Egypt have been enemies so often over the years.


Verse 19 simply confirms that the punishment for not coming up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles is a drought.


Verse 20 tells us that on that day, or during the thousand years of Jesusí rule on earth, the inscription "Holy to the Lord" will be seen on the bells of horses, and on the cooking pots of Godís house.  This might suggest that at least one means of transportation may be horses, or it might simply symbolize the transportation of the day, whatever that may be, but, it does suggest that there will be a house of God, a temple in Jerusalem .  I think the context states this.  If we take "every pot in Jerusalem and Judah " literally in verse 21 then the "house of God" should be taken literally as well, or so I think.  


In verse 21 the text says that every pot in Israel will be holy unto the Lord.  Then the text says that everyone who comes to sacrifice will cook in these pots.  This raises a big question.  Will there be animal sacrifices in this thousand year period?  Some say there will be animal sacrifices that look back to the cross.  They are not a sacrifice to forgive sin since the price for forgiveness of sin has already been paid by Jesus.  Others say the sacrifices will not include the killing of animals, but will be sacrifices of praise.  I think we need to at least consider the idea that this might well include the killing of animals because there are other passages, for example Ezekiel 40 through 48, that does speak of animal sacrifices during this period of time.  We must remember this is the thousand years of Jesusí rule on earth.  It is not the new heaven and new earth that is spoken of at the end of the book of Revelation.  Things will be much different on the new earth.  The thousand years of peace may look more like our life today than the times of the new earth.


It might well be that these sacrifices might only apply to the Jews, and not to Gentile believers, but, the fact that Gentiles will come to Jerusalem once a year to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles might suggest that they will also present sacrifices.


The last sentence of Zechariahís prophecy says that on that day there will not be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord.  The term "house of the Lord" here might mean the literal temple that I believe will exist in Jerusalem during the thousand year rule of Christ, or, it might mean the family of Jews, God's household.  That being said, if I believe the house of the Lord is the temple in the last verse, to be consistent, I should believe it is the temple in this verse.  


The prophecy of Zechariah is now over.  It was meant to be an encouragement to Israel who was finding it hard to put their trust in their God.  These words were spoken to Israel less than twenty years after Cyrus released the Jews to return to their homeland to rebuild their nation and their lives.  Again, these prophecies would be an encouragement for these people in the process of rebuilding their lives. 


The final state of the Jews as Zechariah prophesies
is good.  Their nation will be successful, and the Lord their God will be with them, yet, before that day comes both the Jews and the rest of the world will go through great troubles, as such that has never been seen in the history of humanity.  This severe time of trouble will be judgment for the nations of the world and salvation for Israel.


One important thing to note for Christians concerning the final restoration of Israel is that their restoration comes about with God's intervention in helping them to come to a heart felt repentance.  Repentance is something that is lacking in the modern gospel.  This should never be.  Repentance is lacking in Israel today but their will one day come a sovereign act of God that will bring the remnant of Israel to their knees.  Only then, and not before, will all Israel be saved as the Apostle Paul put it in Romans 11:26.    


I think there is a general feeling in today's church that revival will come to Israel through an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as we have seen in other parts of the world.  The Bible does not say that.  Israel comes to Jesus in repentance only after the Great Tribulation when God pours out a spirit of grace and supplication on them as seen in Zechariah 12:10.  Many Jews may well come to Jesus prior to that, but that is not what Paul is talking about when he states that all Israel will be saved.    

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