Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 14:20-21

3/27/15

Holy to the Lord

(20-21) The division between sacred and secular that has marked the reign of sin will, in that day, be gone. All of life will be sacred. Even the bells (LXX: bridles) of the horses will have imprinted on them “Holy to the Lord.” This was the inscription on the high priest’s turban as the crowning symbol of his sacred responsibility (Ex 39:30).

Pots and bowls

Even the cooking pots not only in Jerusalem but in all of Judah will be like the sacred bowls used in sacred activities of the temple. They too will be holy to the Lord.

All who sacrifice

In the OT priesthood it was the priests who handled the holy things and made the sacrifices. But here it seems that everyone would participate in the sacrifices, and they could because all would be holy. This, again, was to be if Israel had been faithful to the Lord. In the eschatological fulfillment of this scene sacrifices per se will not be necessary, but the same principles apply for God’s people are all destined to become priests and kings (1 Pet 2:5, Rev 1:6, 5:10, 20:6). They will use sacred things as they used common things because everything will be holy to the Lord. There will be no more separations

No Canaanite

And there will be no Canaanite in the house of the Lord. The word kena’ani is sometimes rendered as merchant (Job 31:6, Prov 31:24) and some translations render it that way (YNG, ESV, NRSV) while others maintain Canaanite, including the LXX. It seems to me that Canaanite is a particularly apt translation in this case given the subject matter, though merchant could work as well. The merchants in the temple when Jesus cleansed it were certainly involved in unholy activities. But even more importantly, Gentiles were restricted from the temple and Canaanite had been largely sentenced to death. But the gospel removed all boundaries between male and female, slave and free, Jew and Gentile. Thus everyone at this point in the prophecy would be Jewish, God’s chosen nation (Isa 4:3). As predicted in Joel 3:17, no stranger will pass through Jerusalem again. This is not because they are not allowed but because there will be no strangers. Ezek 44:9 predicted the same, and Paul stated the fact clearly in Eph 2:19-22.

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 14:9-11

3/23/15

(9) Then the Lord will be the one and only king and one and only name over all the earth just as Daniel’s prophecy foretold (Dan 2:44) along with the other prophets as well (e.g. Ps 2:6-8, Isa 2:2-4, Isa 54:5, Mic 4:1-3).

A plain

(10) The landscape will be changed in the vicinity of the the holy city. Whether this happens at the time when the feet of Christ descend on the Mount of Olives (verse 4) or whether it is an additional restructuring as part of recreating the earth is not stated. Either way, though, this mountainous region will be transformed into a huge plain.

Geba to Rimmon

Geba indicates the northern extreme of the plain and Rimmon the southern. The SDA Comm identifies Geba with modern Jeba’, about 9 km NE of Jerusalem, and Rimmon it identifies with En-rimmon, about 14 km NE of Beersheba. This indicates the north and south borders of Judah, as did Geba and Beersheba in 2 Kings 23:8.

Jerusalem will rise

Jerusalem, it seems, will be situated higher than the rest of the plain. This fits also with the predictions of Isa 2:33, Ezek 40:2, and Mic 4:1. Here God’s promise in Ezek 37:26 to place a sanctuary in their midst forever is fulfilled. Also Joel 3:17 is fulfilled along with many others.

The gates

The gates, the Tower of Hananel and the king’s wine presses mark the boundaries of the city proper. Several OT passages mention these landmarks.

Curse

(11) God’s people will live in the city, there will be no more devoted thing, and they will be secure. Devoted things were things that were placed under a curse. During the conquest of Canaan the cities that were utterly destroyed were cherem, devoted to destruction. In the New Jerusalem there will be no such thing. The curse of sin will be gone as well as the curses of the covenant. The LXX uses the word anathema, which means accursed. Rev 22:3 also says that there will no longer be any curse.

Security

Security is one of our most basic needs right after the air we need for breathing. Nothing else is important when we are afraid for our lives. Right at the beginning of Zechariah the promise was made that Jerusalem would be a city without walls and filled with people (Zech 2:4). Isa 26:1 and Ezek 34:25 also promised security. Zech 3:15 and Zech 9:8 promised that they would no longer fear disaster and oppression.

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 14:6-7

3/20/15

(6) That great day of the Lord will be unlike other days. It says literally that the precious ones will congeal. This is variously interpreted. Some understand it to mean that the sun, moon, and stars will not shine or will be darkened (NASB, AMP). Some see it as a simple absence of light (YNG). Others understand qapa’ to indicate frost, and a slight change in the Hebrew can change the meaning of yeqar to cold (ESV, NIV, NRSV). The KJV says that the light will be neither clear nor dark. The LXX says that there will be no light, cold, or frost.

(7) It will truly be a unique day this day of the Lord. It will be neither day nor night, but when evening comes light will arrive. The overall impression is that at the third coming of Christ after the millennium the natural order of things will be changed. The day/night cycle will change, at least for that day; but the lack of light does not bring with it the cold and frost that would normally accompany the darkness. At the time of evening, however, light comes upon the earth. Since this is connected with the descent of the New Jerusalem it seems reasonable to understand that this is the fulfillment of passages like Isa 60:1-3, 19-20; Luke 1:78, Rev 21:23-25, 22:5. The glory of the New Jerusalem and the throne of God brilliantly arrives and settles on the plain.

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 14:5

3/18/15

(5) A vowel point change in the word nastem changes the word from flee to stop up or block (SDA Com). The LXX used the latter rendering of the word while most modern commentators use the former. The verse says that “you will flee,” but who is “you?” It would seem at first that you would refer to those to whom the prophecy was spoken. In that case then this valley creates an escape for the people, enabling them to flee from the nations that have come against them or it becomes a stronghold that protects them. However, you could also refer to the wicked. In verse 3 the Lord will fight against the nations, so you could be speaking to those nations. At the third coming of Christ, according to the description in Revelation 20-22, the holy city will come down (Rev 21:1) out of heaven to rest on a broad plain where the resurrected wicked will surround and attack the city (Rev 20:7-9).

The background of this verse is rooted in the story of the flight of the people before the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah. Amos 1:1 refers to an earthquake around that time, but unfortunately we don’t know this story. Knowing it would surely help us clarify this statement to some degree. Another parallel may be when God descended on Mount Sinai and the mountain quaked violently. Revelation also speaks of earthquakes connected to the end of the world (Rev 6:12, 8:5, 11:13, 16:18-21).

The meaning of the word Atzel is unknown. It seems that it must be a city or region to which the valley would extend. Some have suggested that it could be Wadi Yasol, based on the LXX rendering of the word. This was a tributary of the Kidron (EBC-R).

Then the Lord would come, all His holy ones with Him. These are also the armies of heaven pictured in Rev 19:14 and Enoch spoke of as well (Jude 14). Since it appears we are dealing with the time after the millennium, however, these holy ones would refer also to the people of God who were rescued from earth. We will return with God in that day when He will put a final end to the wicked.

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 14:3-4

3/17/15

(3) The Lord would fight for Jerusalem on the day of the Lord. It is a day that other prophets connect with the day of His wrath when He will destroy the wicked (Isa 63:1-6, 66:15-16; Dan 2:34-35; Joel 3:2, 9-17; Ezek 30:3, Rev 11:18). The attack of Gog in Ezek 38:18-23 and Rev 20:7-9 in particular seems to parallel this description, which means that this verse has moved beyond the Second Coming to the Third Coming. Such “telescoping” of final events is common, particularly in the OT. In other words, like mountains from a distance look like they are stacked two dimensionally upon each other, so events at the end of time are often dealt with together as though happening at the same time, even though in reality there is distance between the events.

(4) The Mount of Olives is mentioned only here and in one other place in the OT. However, it figures prominently in the NT, particularly in relation to Jesus. It it was predicted that Jesus would come back in the same way that He went, which evidently includes descending upon the same mountain.

On this day of final judgment Christ would come and stand on the Mount of Olives on the east of Jerusalem and the effect would be that the mountain would split down the middle from east to west with half the mountain moving toward the north and the other half toward the south creating a large valley or a plain (verse 10). Again, this is the way the scene would have played out had Jerusalem been faithful to God and lasted until the end of the world. Much of this description will still take place at the end of the millennium with the New Jerusalem, but not in every detail since God’s original plans were foiled by Israel’s disobedience.

The mountain becoming a plain or valley casts back to Zech 4:7 where the mountain would become a plain for Zerubbabel. In the same way Christ will rebuild the earth to the shouts of His people. Mic 1:3-4, Nah 1:5, also Hab 3:6 also predicted the mountains melting, dissolving, and shattering under Him.

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 14:1-2

3/16/15

(1) This prophecy concerns the second coming of Christ. This day is the day of the Lord spoken of by many Bible prophets (Isa 2:12; 13:6, 9; Joel 2:31; 3:14; Mal 4:5; Rev 16:14 and more) and refers to judgment at the end of the world.

Had Israel followed God’s plans for them this prophecy could likely have been fulfilled long ago. It will still come true in principle for God’s people, though the details may not apply as specifically as they would have had the prophecy been fulfilled for ancient Israel.

In the last chapter the people of Jerusalem would suffer terrible trials after rejecting the Messiah and two thirds of them would disappear while one third would be tested and tried and purified by fire. Now in verse 1 the prophecy promises that this time of testing would not continue forever. Eventually the day would come when their possessions would be divided among them. It is unclear whether their possession are returned and are being divided among themselves or if their possession are taken and divided among their captors. Most translations leave it vague saying that the plunder would be divided in their midst. Either way will work. If the plunder is divided among the victors it is part of the ransacking of the city. If the plunder is divided among the victims then it is a promise of the fact that once God fights for them the time will come when their possessions will be returned to them.

(2) However, before God’s salvation would come to them, the attack on God’s people would be partially successful. This must be part of the purification process spoken of in the last chapter. The nations would gather against God’s people and the city would fall, be looted, the women raped, and half of the city would be exiled. But half of them, presumably those who trust in the Lord, would remain and would not be cut off. In other words, the remnant people of God will remain strong while those who are only superficially connected to God will fall away.

Jesus spoke of this final time of tribulation (e.g. Mark 13:19) and it would be at this time that the abomination that causes desolation would have set itself up as God (Matt 24:15, Mark 13:14). For the sake of the elect, though, Jesus promised that those days would be cut short (Matt 24:22).

However, the nations that arrive for the capture of Jerusalem do not realized that they have been summoned by God for the day of judgment (Zeph 3:8, 19; 12:3; Joel 3:2, 11; Rev 11:18; 16:16).

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A Simple Guide to Paul's EpistlesYou Can Understand the Book of Revelation

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 13:9

3/15/15

(9) The third that would remain in Jerusalem would be brought through fire, not in order to destroy them but in order to purify them. Fire, in such a case is symbolic for the trials and tribulations they would face. Ps 66:10-13 describes such refining as God bringing His people in a net, laying oppressive burdens on them, and making men ride over their heads. Isa 48:10 says that God tests us in the furnace of affliction. Such difficulties serve much the same purpose that fire serves in refining silver or gold. Peter warned us not to be surprised at such testing because God uses it to good purpose (1 Pet 4:12-13).

As a result the people would recognize their need of God as their fortress and strength and they would call to him. And God promised to answer them saying that they are His people. And the people would respond that the Lord is their God. As Joel 2:32 says, anyone who does call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Over and over again in the Scriptures this scenario is played out with the same outcome. God allows trials to test His people, these trials do in fact get our attention. If we respond by returning to the Lord and being obedient to Him, then the relationship has been saved. We become His and He becomes ours. And then God is able once again to protect us as He has wanted to do all along.

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A Simple Guide to Paul's EpistlesYou Can Understand the Book of Revelation

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