Zechariah 14:8-21 On That Day

Future Climate Change

On that day there shall be neither cold nor frost.  7 And there shall be continuous day (it is known to the LORD), not day and not night, for at evening time there shall be light. 8  On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea; it shall continue in summer as in winter. Zech. 14:6-8

Our vision of what the garden of eden must have been like seems here to return the earth to its original state. The climate appears to change and become temperate, with no night. This seems to mirror the New Jerusalem’s bearing fruit each month and lack of a sun or moon. The river of living waters, or eternal life, flow out from Jerusalem; the source never dries up as it flows in summer as well as winter.

A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. Gen. 2:10 

through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Rev. 22:2

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it,  Rev. 21:23-24

Jesus said to her, “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13, 14

And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.” Ezek. 47:12

Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb  Rev. 22:1 

 

9   And the LORD will become king over all the earth; on that day the LORD will be one and his name one. Zech. 14:9  (See Also:  God’s Name)

It is like the whole world recites the Shema:

 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; Deut. 6:4  

 

And he who sat upon the throne said,  “Behold, I make all things new.” Also he said,  “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  he said to me,  “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment  Rev. 21:5-6

 

Terraforming

10 The whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft upon its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses.  11 And it shall be inhabited, for there shall be no more curse; Jerusalem shall dwell in security. Zech. 14:10-11

265_zechariah14The plain is described literally with the names of known gates and towers in Zechariah’s day. The size of this plain is considerably smaller, and thus unable to contain the dimensions of the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelations. The temple of Ezekiel, which is huge, seems out of scale to the New Jerusalem.  If Ezekiel and  Revelations is about this same day of the Lord, then their highly symbolic imagery must “reduce” to this plain.

Those who teach that this is the Gospel have a problem in that this is clearly the location of the physical Jerusalem.

The Plague

Zech. 14:12   And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will smite all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh shall rot while they are still on their feet, their eyes shall rot in their sockets, and their tongues shall rot in their mouths.  13 And on that day a great panic from the LORD shall fall on them, so that each will lay hold on the hand of his fellow, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other;  14 even Judah will fight against Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the nations round about shall be collected, gold, silver, and garments in great abundance.  15 And a plague like this plague shall fall on the horses, the mules, the camels, the asses, and whatever beasts may be in those camps.

 

The word plague could just as well be slaughter, and slaughter makes a whole lot more sense.  A contagion would not likely affect both people and different species of animals.  Most diseases are host specific, and only cross species under specific circumstances. Some have suggested that this is more like a chemical or neutron bomb war.

 

All this seems to be happening at the same time that Jerusalem is being made a paradise.  The warring nations have horses, mules, camels, and donkeys.  This does not seem to be a modern army.  If this is a modern war, why all these animals?  The last time the city of Jerusalem was taken by an army with animals was British General Allenby in WWI.  Since then it has been jeeps and tanks, missiles and grenades.

These heaps of rotting dead are similar to the war in Ezekiel.  However, in The Revelation they are consumed by fire.  Here, a panic falls on the invading armies and causes them to kill each other.  However, the Ezekiel passage indicates the plague, or slaughter, is self-inflicted.

 You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples that are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the wild beasts to be devoured. You shall fall in the open field; for I have spoken, says the Lord GOD. Ezek. 39:4-5 

. . . and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.  And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, Rev. 20:8-9

. . . so that each will lay hold on the hand of his fellow,

I will summon every kind of terror against Gog, says the Lord GOD; every man’s sword will be against his brother. Ezek. 38:21 

 

The RSV has chosen that Judah is against Jerusalem, other translations translate Judah is with Jerusalem. The Hebrew is ambiguous as to which side Judah is on.  It woodenly says, And also Judah shall fight forever in/at/with Jerusalem. With no period the and, would put Judah with the Gentile nations being despoiled by the city.

Those who teach that this Jerusalem is the Gospel going out to the nations, point out that Judah has always been against the followers of Yeshua/Jesus.  To them it is the believers that shall despoil the nations.

If this is a counter attack to save those left inside the city.  They seem to have already been saved by God?  Cf. Ez. 38:12f  39:9f

 

The Feast of Booths/Tabernacles/Sukkot

Zech. 14:16   Then every one that survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of booths.  17 And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain upon them.  18 And if the family of Egypt do not go up and present themselves, then upon them shall come the plague with which the LORD afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the feast of booths.  19 This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the feast of booths. 

Some teach that all the nations will keep a future Feast of Booths/Tabernacles or Sukkot.  However, it is only the people of the nations who came against Jerusalem that are indicated here.  This may be a very small group of survivors, it is not just not rational for everyone from every nation to be in such a small area.

There is a judgment placed on any of these peoples who refuse to keep Sukkot, in that their nations will not receive rain.  The Feast of Sukkot is primarily a Harvest/Thanksgiving  Feast.  So,  in this way these nations shall suffer catastrophic crop failures.

It is interesting that Egypt is singled out here.  Egypt is the first nation that came against God’s people.  It is Egypt who enslaved them and killed the first born.  It is Egypt that would not let God’s people go.  it is Egypt that hospitably welcomed them as friends, then inhospitably turned on them and enslaved them.

 

All the Food is Sacred

Zech. 14:20   And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses,  “Holy to the LORD.” And the pots in the house of the LORD shall be as the bowls before the altar;  21 and every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be sacred to the LORD of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the flesh of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day. 

Although Zechariah is literal, it makes the most sense that horses, pots, and  sacrifices are symbolic of being holy and set apart. The description is in the language the Jews of Zechariah’s day understood.  James quoted Amos that we are the tabernacle of the LORD,  thus this house of the LORD is likely symbolic of his bride.  That there is no more sacrifice for sins means the statement in Zechariah must necessarily be describing a dinner with the LORD; perhaps the marriage supper of the Lamb.  (See Also: The Tabernacle of David)

All the containers in Jerusalem and Judah shall be ceremonially clean.  That would make one think that the whole area is eating temple food.  It is a misconception many have that all sacrifices were whole burnt offerings.  But that is not the case, most of the sacrifices people brought were a kind of BBQ.  God got the smoke, the fat, and entrails [Ex. 29:13 ]. The priests got the skins, shoulders, stomachs, and cheeks [Lev. 7:8 Deut. 18:3].  The worshippers ate the remainder before the LORD [Deut. 12:7, 14:24-26].

What is important here is that all things are made holy. The horse’s bells say Holy to the LORD.   Horses are often the chosen ride of invaders.  As such they would not have bells announcing their presence.  But this is a joyous occasion, a festival, these horses are not wearing battle armor but bells,  because they bring pilgrims not invaders.

FYI:  Horses not well thought of in Israel of old [Is 2:7; Deut 17:16 Ezek. 38;4],  They were regarded as a symbol of foreign pomp and power.

The Feast of Tabernacles required the worshippers to rejoice [Lev. 23:40].

 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, Heb. 10:12

For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, Heb. 10:26 

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. Rev. 21:22 

Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready Rev. 19:6, 7   See Also: The Cycle of Levitical Feasts

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And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day. 

No more buying or selling of temple sacrifices will occur in this “house”. The traders in the temple were money changers; sellers of goats, sheep, and cattle for the sacrifices.  In the past we know that this trading was not always honest and upright.

He said to them,  “It is written,  ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you make it a den of robbers.” Matt. 21:13 

And he taught, and said to them,  “Is it not written,  ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations? But you have made it a den of robbers.”  Mark 11:17 

saying to them,  “It is written,  ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.” Luke 19:46

 

 

Pros and Cons of the Different Views

 

Both the Preterits and the Dispensational views require strained hermeneutics that create groundless illogical connections, moving between the literal and the symbolic.

70 AD, This is a Preterit’s position. Those who teach that this is about the Gospel believers, point out that we are now all part of the tabernacle with Messiah, the tent of David, or the Temple of the Holy Spirit. So, we are spiritually or symbolical always living the Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot.  They claim that it is not just a biblical holy day but, a life style of living and walking with God.

To hold this position requires the reader to switch from a literal destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Roman General Titus, to a symbolic rescue of the souls of Christians. In this view, the historic fact of Titus’ selecting the people into three groups is somehow overlooked, in Zechariah 14 it quite specifically says that half of the people are taken into captivity.  The fleeing though the valley to Azel becomes a type for salvation, or at least breaking with the Temple services. But, salvation was at the cross, and breaking with the Temple happened when Paul was in a riot [Acts 21].

The Battle of Armageddon, is the Dispensational view.  First and foremost, God Himself has gathered these nations, where in The Revelation they are brought to Har-Megedon by three foul frog spirits [Rev. 16:12-16].  There are no hermeneutical reasons for connecting these two unconnected, and unrelated passages, let alone inserting the king of the north, the king of the south and the people from the rising sun.  [REV 16 SAYS THE  FROG SPIRITS/DEMON SPIRITS SHOW SIGNS TO ASSEMBLE THE KINGS TO BATTLE]

 

The problem with these next two views is that they both require a gap, where none is indicated.  But, then none of the sacks of Jerusalem throughout history fulfill the details presented in the passage.  But they both see that the description is similar to the contents of the Gog and Magog passages of Ezekiel and The Revelation.  These two views only differ in where they place this battle, before or after the millennium.

 

Gog and Magog

In Ezekiel 38-39, the LORD sets his face against Gog and Magog. These place and people names used here are most likely the symbolic names of ancient peoples who inhabited present day northeastern Turkey and northern Iran, into Uzbekistan.  The Lord provokes these peoples to acquire an enormous army, with horses, into battle against his people Israel. This is so “that the nations may know Me” when I am vindicated in you. His fury is shown in “the fire of his wrath”. In that day, there will be a great earthquake.  The mountains shall be thrown down. Judgment comes with pestilence and bloodshed; rain, hailstones, fire and brimstone.

Persia (modern Iran), Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, Togarmah will join the battle. Their evil plans are to take plunder and booty, livestock and goods.  Sheba (modern Yemen) and Dedan (modern Ethiopia) and the merchants of Tarshish  (Spain) will ask if they (previously mentioned peoples) have come to plunder?

This view is most closely associated with the prophecy of Zechariah 14.  It may provide additional information about the peoples and the armies that the LORD brings against Israel.

If this adds to Zechariah’s foretelling, the timing of the battle of Gog and Magog may indicate it occurs at the second coming of the LORD. However, if the “millennial” years are after the Lord’s return, this may be at the end of that period.

Revelation 20 states the devil will be bound for a long time, “1,000” years. The souls of the beheaded saints rule, on thrones and in judgment (while living with Christ) for this “1,000” years.  This “1,000” years is not likely literal considering Revelation is such a highly symbolic book, but is a very long time. After “1,000” years Satan is released to deceive the nations in the four corners, Gog and Magog, to battle. They surround the camp and the city.  Fire comes down to devour Israel’s enemies.

 

Present Day

The Oracle is addressed to Israel, yet at present they are not all back in the land. The last known whereabouts of these tribes is Iran (Persia).  There is also the problem that Judah is “with the nations” against Jerusalem, at least in the battle.  This seems highly unlikely under current political situations.

 

Future Day

It seems clear that no past battle against Jerusalem has met the conditions given us in Zechariah 14. A situation would have to arise where the nations around Israel decided in concert to attack, specifically targeting Jerusalem. This is totally within the current understanding we have about the hatred shown towards the nation of Israel. Perhaps in the battle, Judah would turn to “liberate” a captured Jerusalem. However, Zechariah indicates it is the LORD with his holy ones who will rescue Jerusalem.

The Lord’s return we learn from Zechariah 12, causes the nation of Israel to mourn.  One can describe this as an irretrievable loss for those who are not believers, as the righteous judge has come.

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