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THE REMNANT

Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

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ISRAEL’S SALVATION ACCORDING TO ZACHARIAH 12-14 (PART 2 OF 2)

Israel saved

ZACHARIAH 14

TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF CHRIST

THE PROMISED MESSIAH WILL RETURN AS THE TRIUMPHANT WARRIOR-KING TO DEFEAT ISRAEL’S ENEMIES AND USHER IN THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM

Just as God fulfilled His detailed promises very literally regarding the first coming of the promised Messiah, the events surrounding His second coming and the Day of the Lord must also be taken at face value. Yes, there are figures of speech involved. But you cannot do justice to the text to spiritualize away the details that are revealed in this chapter or to try to substitute the church for the physical nation of Israel as the focal point of these promises. Just when things look the darkest for the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem, the Warrior-King will return in power and triumph to destroy all enemies and rescue His besieged remnant. The worship of the one true God will be exalted in the millennial kingdom with very severe judgments for those people who persist in the foolishness of rebellion.

THE LORD WILL RESCUE HIS REMNANT (14:1-3, 12-15)

The first verses of chapter 14 go back to the last two verses of chapter 13, and to the battle mentioned in 12:2-9.

“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 of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.”

The earlier description did not mention that Jerusalem would be overrun before the Lord would intervene, but that is the picture here (14:2-3). The people will be overcome by their opponents and will have to watch helplessly as their own possessions are leisurely shared out by their conquerors before their very eyes. It is a picture of the seemingly hopeless situation of the people of God. But as the enemies are leisurely dividing the spoil from Jerusalem in its streets, thinking that they have defeated the Jews, then Jesus will return.

When the Romans came against Jerusalem in 70 A.D. they came with a multinational army and brought terrible destruction on the city and its people. Yet there was none of the deliverance that Zechariah will describe in the following verses, so it is difficult to say that this was fulfilled in the Roman attack upon Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

“12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought 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.”

The enemies of God as well as many of His own people are destroyed by plague, mutual slaughter, and by the sword of Judah (Judah also will fight at Jerusalem). The description of flesh dissolving makes some think that Zechariah is describing the effects of a neutron or nuclear bomb. But In the glorious deliverance the Messiah brings, Jerusalem will become a wealthy and influential city again.

“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 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.”

Jesus will return in glory with all the saints, the armies of heaven, as described in Revelation 19:14. When Jesus returns, His feet will touch down on the very place from which He ascended, the Mount of Olives, it will be split in two, the surviving remnant will escape, and Jesus will rout His enemies.

The Israelites would flee for safety through this valley with mountains on either side (cf. 2 Sam. 15:16, 30; 2 Kings 25:4; Ezek. 11:22-25). The valley would reach as far as Azel (lit. “be joined to” or “be at the side of, near;” cf. Mic. 1:11), some distance east of Jerusalem. Matthew 24:16-20 provides a set of instructions for the Remnant. Christ tells them where to go: the Judean mountains. Based on Jeremiah 49:13-14 and Isaiah 63:1-3, many believe that the Jews will flee to the old Bozrah region in southwest Jordan, where the ancient fortress city of Petra is located.

In 760 B.C. Judah was hit by a gigantic earthquake, recorded in Amos 1:1. Josephus said this happened when Uzziah walked into the temple as a kingpriest. 250 years later, Zechariah referred to that stupendous earthquake.

THAT DAY OF THE LORD WILL BE UNIQUE IN MANY RESPECTS (14:6-11)

“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.”

Joel had said, “The sun and moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining” Joel 3:15. And Isaiah, “The moon shall be confounded and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jersalem and before His ancients gloriously” Isaiah 24:23; and, “Behold the day of the Lord cometh, The stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine” Isaiah 13:9-10. All know well our Lord’s words Matthew 24:29. John, like Zechariah, unites the failure of the heavenly light “with a great earthquake, and the sun became as sackcloth of hair: and the moon become as blood; and the stars of heaven fell upon the earth” Revelation 6:12-13.

The new creation shall be ushered in, as the first was, by a day of lurid gloom and “darkness visible,” which shall not, however, deepen into night, but brighten at its close into the everlasting dawn. “At evening time there shall be light.”

“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.”

The Israelites divided their year into two seasons instead of four: summer and winter (cf. Gen. 8:22; Ps. 74:17; Isa. 18:6). Probably the water will be literal, but it certainly has symbolic significance as well (cf. Ps. 46:4; 65:9; Isa. 8:6; Jer. 2:13; Ezek. 47:1-12; John 4:10-14; 7:38; Rev. 22:1-2).

Ezekiel 47 records a vision that may describe this scene. Ezekiel saw a river flowing from the throne of God and down to the Dead Sea, bringing life and vitality everywhere.

“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.”

Geba was six miles north east of Jerusalem. Though it actually lay in the traditional territory of Benjamin, it was taken as the northernmost limit of Judah (1 Kgs. 15:22; 2 Kgs. 23:8). Rimmon was 35 miles south west of Jerusalem, and was on the southern border of Judah where the hill country merged into the Negev (Josh. 15:32; 19:7). Since the mountains around Jerusalem are no longer needed as a defense, they can be flattened into a plain. This will be the first time in a long time that Jerusalem will be a safe place to live.

THE GENTILE NATIONS IN THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM WILL WORSHIP THE LORD IN JERUSALEM AT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES (14:16-19)

Following the Lord’s victory at that battle (cf. Rev 19:11-16), will come the full restoration of Israel as anticipated in Hos 14:4-7; Joel 3:18-21; Am 9:13-15; Mic 4:1-3; Zep 3:14-20.

“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.”

Instead of coming to Jerusalem for battle now the nations come to honor God and to remember His faithfulness to Israel in the wilderness by keeping the Feast of Tabernacles. God won’t make people worship Him during the millennium, but the advantages of worshipping and honoring God will be more evident than ever. Egypt is probably specifically mentioned because they were a nation not especially dependant on rain, yet they too would be punished if disobedient.

CONCLUSION – TOTAL CONSECRATION TO THE LORD (20-21)

“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.”

This was the great inscription on the metal band around the high priest’s headpiece (Exodus 28:36). In the glory of the Messiah’s kingdom horses won’t be needed for war any longer – now even they can wear the emblems of holiness to the Lord.

These were the cooking utensils used by worshippers to cook for their own the sacrificial meat intended for them from the peace offerings. The bowls before the altar were used to gather and sprinkle sacrificial blood on the altar. These show that animal sacrifice will continue in the millennium, but not as atonement for sin – which was perfectly satisfied by the atoning work of Jesus. Sacrifice in the millennium will look back to the perfect work of Jesus.

These were the cooking utensils used by worshippers to cook for their own the sacrificial meat intended for them from the peace offerings. The bowls before the altar were used to gather and sprinkle sacrificial blood on the altar. These show that animal sacrifice will continue in the millennium, but not as atonement for sin – which was perfectly satisfied by the atoning work of Jesus. Sacrifice in the millennium will look back to the perfect work of Jesus.

The Canaanites throughout Israel’s history represented people who were morally and spiritually unclean, reprehensible to Yahweh, and doomed to death (cf. Gen. 9:25; Isa. 35:8; Ezek. 43:7; 44:9; Rev. 21:27). Probably that is the significance of the name here, not just the ethnic Canaanites alone. There would be no more people like the Canaanites in the land because all would acknowledge Him as God and King.

(BIBLE VERSION: KJV)

(MAIN EXTRA-BIBLICAL SOURCE 1: “THE LORD REMEMBERS AND WILL AGAIN CHOOSE JERUSALEM — COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF ZECHARIAH” by Paul G. Apple, October 2007)

(MAIN EXTRA-BIBLICAL SOURCE 2: “The Blue Letter  Bible – Zachariah: StudyGuide2017-Zec/Zec-14.cfm” – David Guzik)

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