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

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 14:15-19

3/26/15

(15) The plague will also affect the horse, mule, camel, donkey, and cattle in the camp of the wicked. This parallels Zech 12:4 where God promised to bewilder the horses and strike the riders with madness.

(16) Before probation closes at the end of time, those who had arrayed themselves against Jerusalem will still have the opportunity to repent and join the side of God’s people, and some will do so. God has room for them. In 2 Chr 6:32-33 Solomon prayed that any foreigner who prayed toward the temple would be received. Isaiah predicted that ruthless nations would revere the Lord (Isa 25:3) and Hosea predicted that those who were not God’s people would become His people (Hos 2:23). In the end there will be no Canaanite in the house of the Lord (Zech 14:21).

Then all will come from year to year to worship the King at the feast of booths or tabernacles. This was based on the Jewish festival calendar. What it will look like in an eschatological fulfillment is yet to be seen.

(17-19) Once the New Jerusalem returns to earth it will not happen that some may refuse to attend the feast and worship the King. Had Zechariah’s prophecy been fulfilled according to God’s original desires for Israel, then this part of the prophecy would have applied. However, it cannot be applied to the final situation after the eradication of sin.

Had Israel become the beacon God intended for them to become the earth would have experienced a great revival and the nations would have poured into Jerusalem to worship God. And God would have dealt with those who continued to refuse to acknowledge Him as God by not sending the rain on them, which was one of the curses for breaking the covenant (Deut 11:17, 28:23-24). This curse fell instead on Israel, because it also refused to acknowledge the Lord (1 Kgs 8:35, 2 Chr 7:13, Isa 5:6, Jas 5:17).

Egypt in particular seems to be a prophetic symbol for godlessness because Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey Him?” (Ex 5:2). The result, of course, was that the plagues from the Lord fell upon the people of Egypt.

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 14:13-14

3/25/15

(13) As a result of the plague(s) falling upon them, the wicked will be seized with panic. In their panic they will seize each other’s hands and will raise their hands against each other. This means that they will begin to fight against one another. This is what happened in the story of Gideon (Judg 7:22) and the story of the Ammonites, Moabites, and Mount Seir (2 Chr 2:23). It is also Isaiah’s prediction in Isa 13:4 and Jesus’ predictions in Matt 24:7, Mark 13:8, and Luke 21:10; and also in Revelation when the ten horns destroy the scarlet beast in Rev 17:16. In the end the wicked turn on each other. Ezekiel’s prediction in Ezek 38:17-22 concerning Gog has so many parallels to Zechariah’s prophecy that it is clearly speaking of the same event, at least in general terms.

(14) Judah will also fight in or at Jerusalem. This seems to parallel Zech 12:5-7 where Judah and Jerusalem are cooperating in their fight against their attackers. This, it seems to me, is continuing the scenes of verses 1 and 2, which is of the purifying tribulation of God’s people. Probably the story of the Aramean siege of Jerusalem is in the background here. Jerusalem was nearly starved when God miraculously sent the Aramean’s fleeing and the people of Jerusalem went out and plundered the camp in great abundance.

Isa 23:18 also speaks about how the harlot’s wages will be devoted to the Lord and how her spoil will be given to God’s people. So once again we see the picture of how in the end God will bring His people through the final events of earth’s history and will reward them lavishly for their faithfulness.

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 14:12

3/24/15

Rot

(12) Continuing with the judgment theme against the wicked, the Lord will punish with a plague those who have fought against Jerusalem. Their flesh will rot where they stand, their eyes in their holes, and their tongues in their mouths. The LXX says that their flesh and tongues will dissolve and their eyes will flow out of their holes. However, this rotting away will take some time as becomes clear in the following verses.

This rotting away, maqaq, is the explicit consequence of breaking the covenant, according to Lev 26:39. And the cause of this rotting of their flesh was their sins. Ps 38:5, Ezek 4:17, 24:23, 33:10 also connect rotting flesh with sin. Such rotting away is probably synonymous with the wasting diseases and sickness that Deut 28 lists among the curses for failure to keep the covenant. Two examples of this punishment came upon Jehoram (2 Chr 21:15-19) and Herod Antipas (Acts 12:23). It likely also sheds some light on the cryptic phrase “their worm shall not die” in Isa 66:24 and Mark 9:48, which is connected to the death of the wicked at the end and also with Satan’s end in Isa 14:11. Isa 51:8 also says that worms will devour the wicked.

The first of the seven angels who pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth pours out a plague of terrible sores upon the wicked. The parallels here are intriguing, particularly when seen in the light of the promise in Lev 26:16-28 that if after the first curses the people still refused to obey the Lord, then He would punish them seven times more for their sins.

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

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 14:8

3/22/15

Living water

(8) Ezekiel also saw water flowing from Jerusalem with its beginning in the temple itself (Ezek 47:1-12). This living water would make the seas fresh and give life to trees and sea creatures. That this is the river of life of the New Jerusalem is clean in Ezek 47:12 because the leaves and fruit of the trees will not fail. They will bear fruit every month for food and the leaves will be for healing. Rev 22:1-2 presents the same picture.

Living water is a prominent theme, particularly in the NT because Jesus spoke about it often (John 4:10, 14; 7:38), and Revelation’s final invitation is to come drink of this water without cost (Rev 22:17).

Former and latter seas

The river would flow out of Jerusalem toward the former sea and the latter sea, which refers to the Mediterranean and the Dead Seas to the east and west of Jerusalem.

Summer and winter

This river would be unceasing, flowing summer and winter. The LXX says summer and spring. Lack of water was a constant problem for Israel. Isaiah makes it clear that their unfaithfulness to God brought about this curse but that God would restore water to them and their lands if they would be loyal to Him (Isa 35:7; 41:17-18; 49:10; 58:11).

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

For more information and to purchase books by Jeff Scoggins visit Skapto Publishing.

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