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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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 14:5

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

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 14:1-2

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 12:3

2/28/15

(3) The two other time we have encountered the stone in Zechariah it was a reference to Jesus Christ (Zech 3:9, 10:4). So it seems that there is likely a similar allusion here, particularly when we add Matt 21:44 to the mix. Like Jesus, any who lifted that stone to the cross would be crushed by that stone eventually falling on them. In this verse Jerusalem is the stone and any who gather against her will be severely cut. The only other place the word yisaretu is used is Lev 21:5 where Israel was forbidden to cut themselves. This reminds me too of Dan 2:34, 45 when the stone cut out without hands destroyed the last kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar’s image.

The LXX says that Jerusalem will become a trampled stone and that everyone who tramples it will mock it and the nations of the earth will gather themselves against it, but, in the next verse, God does not allow this.

In Zech 14 the same scenario is repeated with even more eschatological hints. After the millennium Satan will gather the nations to attack the New Jerusalem and will be destroyed by fire (Rev 20:7-10). Several other pre-millennial instances of spiritual Israel being attacked are found in Rev 16:14, 17:12-14, 19:19-21.

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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 11:15-17

2/26/15

(15) The Lord then told Zechariah to take up again the equipment of an awkward or useless (LXX: ignorant) shepherd. What this equipment was is not specifically stated, but in reading the other prophets the foolishness of the shepherd is often equated with spiritual blindness and lack of knowledge (e.g. Isa 56:11, Hos 4:6, Luke 6:39). The LXX obviously recognized this in its translation. Many of the details in Ezek 34 play into this description in the next verse.

(16) The Lord’s command was to predict that he would raise up another shepherd that would replace the Good Shepherd. This shepherd would not have the compassion or mission that the Messiah had. This shepherd would not care for the dying, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or sustain the standing (take care of the healthy). This kind of treatment is the opposite of what the Messiah came to accomplish in Isa 42:7 and Ezek 34:16. Instead this shepherd would devour the flesh of the fat sheep and would tear off their hoofs. This was the situation for which Jesus pronounced woe on the Pharisees and teachers of the law in Matt 23:2-4, 13-29.

And if the thoughts in verse 14 concerning the post-Messiah situation, this kind of behavior is exactly what happened in the Christian church following the time of the early church.

(17) The consequences for this worthless shepherd who forsakes the flock will be dire. A sword will disable his arm and “completely dim” his right eye. Jer 50:35-37 threatened a sword against Babylon, which ties in closely with Rev 19:15, 21 in which God finally moves against Babylon for what she has done to His people. The result will be the destruction of her power and blindness/darkness. Other prophets present this darkness and powerlessness, often in eschatological terms (1 Sam 2:31, Hos 4:5-7, Amos 8:9-10, Mic 3:6-7, John 9:39). The story of Jeroboam’s withered arm in 1 Kgs 13 also serves as an illustration of the way God will deal with shepherds who lead His people astray.

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

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