Sunday, July 11, 2010

Zechariah 14

The attack on Jerusalem (vs. 1-2)--This chapter does not appear to be a continuation of the preceding one, and identifying its exact meaning is not easy. It appears to be Messianic (v. 8), but again caution should be used in interpreting this section. I don't believe the Roman destruction of 70 A.D. is meant; verse 2 speaks of "all nations" gathered against Jerusalem. That could refer to the Roman Empire, but probably not in this case. If this chapter is Messianic, as I believe it to be, then the material here is figurative. God's people will come under serious attack. "Half the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city" (v. 2); Satan surely wins some battles in the spiritual warfare we fight.  The event described here has never happened, literally, to Jerusalem after the return from Babylonian captivity. Some commentators thus see the events of this chapter as yet future from our day, but I'm not inclined that way. Let's just consider it as applying to the church, and given verse 8, I think that's the best view.

The Lord attacks in return (vs. 3-7)--While trials often come to the people of God, He never leaves them totally in the hands of their enemies. He counter-attacks (v. 3), and provides a way of refuge and escape for His people (v. 4). The splitting of the Mount of Olives (v. 4) would be a spectacular event, if literal; but I believe it figurative--the Lord opens a door of escape for His saints. There will be great darkness (v. 6), but also great light (v. 7; judgment and mercy?). But He will be with His people (v. 5).

The living waters (vs. 8-11)--Five times in this chapter we read that significant phrase "in that day," and one of those is verse 8: "And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in both summer and winter it shall occur." This is a pretty good description of the "living water" Jesus provides (John 4:10). Notice it flows in both directions (everywhere) and "in both summer and winter" (all the time). The gospel is for all mankind and it will be offered until the Lord returns again. "And the LORD shall be King over all the earth" (v. 9)--"King of kings and Lord of lords" (I Tim. 6:15). The land shall be fertile (v. 10, manifold blessings for His people), and "Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited" (v. 11)--Jehovah will guard His own. Again, spiritually this is a perfect picture of the church; literally, it has never happened.

Plague upon the enemies of God (vs. 12-19)--Verse 12 has a gruesome picture of what happens to those who fight against His people: "Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths." Not wise to be found on the opposing side in a war against Jehovah! There will be great panic (v. 13), God's people will fight together and obtain great booty (v. 14). The plague will strike even the animals of the enemies (v. 15). There will be complete and utter destruction for those who combat God's plan. Those who are left will submit to Jehovah (v. 16), and will come from everywhere to worship Him. If they do not, they will not be blessed (v. 17) and indeed, will continue to be plagued (vs. 18-19). The references (vs. 16 and 18) to the Feast of Tabernacles must be figurative, because it would require a restoration of the Law of Moses for that feast to actually be held again. One of the major losses of the Jews at the Roman destruction of 70 A.D. was all their genealogical records; no Jew today can tell you which tribe he is from, and the mixture is probably so great that there exists no pure line any more back to the original tribes. Thus, restoration of the tribe of Levi, the priestly tribe that would officiate at the Feast of Tabernacles, is impossible. Therefore, we have a reference to the worship of God in present times.

"Holiness to the Lord" (vs. 20-21)--"In that day" there will be a holiness like never seen before. All of God's people are holy (I Peter 2:5), and that is represented here as "every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the Lord" (v. 21). The pots in the houses of the people of God are every bit as sanctified as those in the Lord's house. This isn't profaning God's house by any means; it simply indicates the breakdown of the old law by the new, where everyone is a priest (I Peter 2:9). "In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts" (v. 21). Nothing but purity "in that day." There are, of course, "impure" people in the church who masquerade as true saints, but the Lord knows who they are and knows they are not His.  This whole section does appear to fit the church far better than anything Jerusalem has ever had or could have without miracles of an astonishing nature. And, we would ask, since eternal salvation can be found, for all, Jew and Gentile alike, in Christ Jesus, what would be the purpose of it all?

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