The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Zechariah 14

Zec 14:1

Vv 1-8: Final deliverance of Israel and the return of the Messiah.

The nations that plunder Israel victoriously will divide their spoil among themselves in Jerusalem (cp Joel 3; Rev 16:16).

Zec 14:2

ALL THE NATIONS: Perhaps all the nations "round about Jerusalem" (v 14). Cp 1Ch 14:17; 2Ch 32:23; Eze 32:12. Or, does this mean "all nations" as exemplified in the United Nations, for example -- an international "peacekeeping" force? Cp also Rev 16:16-21.

THE CITY WILL BE CAPTURED: "This eschatological verse alone -- with its statement that 'the city will be captured' -- is sufficient to refute the notion popular in certain circles that 'the times of the Gentiles' (Luke 21:24) were fulfilled as of the rebirth of the modern state of Israel. According to Lucan theology, after 'the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled,' Jerusalem will be trampled on no more. Since Zec 14:2 clearly indicates that Jerusalem will be 'trampled on' again in the future, the 'times of the Gentiles' would seem to extend to the Messiah's second advent, when those 'times' will be replaced by the final, universal, everlasting kingdom of Dan 2:35,44,45" (EBC).

HALF OF THE CITY: The city of Jerusalem is today divided into two more-or-less equal portions: the Jewish section, and the Arab section. It shouldn't be difficult to figure out which "half" is referred to here!

Zec 14:3

THE LORD WILL GO OUT AND FIGHT AGAINST THOSE NATIONS, AS HE FIGHTS IN THE DAY OF BATTLE: Yahweh will then take the role of the divine warrior and -- leading His heavenly hosts (Jdg 4:14; 2Sa 5:24; 1Ch 14:15) -- will fight for His people Israel (cp Zec 1:3; 9; 10:4,5; 12:1-9). He had done this previously in the Exodus and on numerous other occasions (cp Exo 14:13-14; 15:3; Jos 10:14; 23:3; Jdg 4:15; 2Ch 20:15).

Zec 14:4

In that day Yahweh's feet, in the person of Messiah (cp Acts 1:9-12; Rev 19:11-16), would stand on the Mount of Olives to the east of Jerusalem (cp Acts 1:11). Since people were east oriented in ancient times, Zechariah described this mountain as in front of Jerusalem. The LORD would split this mountain in two (with an earthquake?) so half of it would fall away to the north and the other half to the south leaving a large east-west valley down the middle (cp Rev 16:18,19).

It was toward this direction that the Glory left the temple in Ezekiel's day (Eze 11:23), and from there it will return (Eze 43:1,2).

THE MOUNTAIN SHALL REMOVE...: Earthquakes accompany awesome manifestations of God: Exo 19:18; Jdg 5:4; Psa 77:18; 114:4; Isa 2:10-22; Jer 4:24; Eze 38:20; Joe 3:16; Amo 9:1,5; Zec 14:4; Rev 6:12; 11:19; 16:18. The result: a formation similar to that at Shechem, where mounts Ebal and Gerizim flank a deep east-west valley. Here Joshua assembled God's people to hear the blessings and the cursings (Jos 8:33,34).

See Lesson, Earthquakes.

Zec 14:5

YOU WILL FLEE BY MY MOUNTAIN VALLEY, FOR IT WILL EXTEND TO AZEL: The Israelites would flee for safety through this valley with mountains on either side (cp 2Sa 15:16, 30; 2Ki 25:4; Eze 11:22-25). The valley would reach as far as Azel, a site presently unknown but obviously some distance east of Jerusalem.

THE EARTHQUAKE IN THE DAYS OF UZZIAH: Evidently a very great earthquake (cp Amos 1:1; Isa 5:25; Jos Ant 9:10:4). It was possibly by this very earthquake that Uzziah was greatly helped by the LORD (2Ch 26:15).

THEN THE LORD MY GOD WILL COME, AND ALL THE HOLY ONES WITH HIM: The "saints" (KJV). The multitudinous Christ, his body, consisting of believers both Jews and Gentiles -- who will then be His "host", along with the angels of heaven -- His glorious Cherubim, or chariots of war!

Zec 14:6

Vv 6,7: Cp Joel 3:15-17; Amos 5:18.

Zec 14:7

A UNIQUE DAY, WITHOUT DAYTIME OR NIGHTTIME: That is, like twilight, neither day nor night (cp Gen 1:3-5). Even in the evening there will be more light than usual. It would be a unique day in human history (cp Jer 30:7).

A DAY KNOWN TO THE LORD: This phenomenon would occur on a day that only Yahweh would know (cp Mat 24:36; Acts 1:7); no one else will be able to predict that day!

Other passages also predict cosmic phenomena in the Day of the LORD (Isa 13:9,10; Joel 2:31; 3:15; Amos 5:18; Mat 24:29,30; Rev 6:12-14; 8:8-12; 9:1-18; 14:14-20; 16:4,8,9). This "day" is an extended period of time, not just a 12-hour or 24-hour period. Here the end of the Tribulation is in view -- the prophets spoke of as this very end-time as the Day of the LORD, as they do of the Millennium itself: the "day" or "time" when God intervenes directly and conclusively in the affairs of the world.

Zec 14:8

LIVING WATER WILL FLOW OUT FROM JERUSALEM, HALF TO THE EASTERN SEA AND HALF TO THE WESTERN SEA: "Living water" is a metaphor that pictures water as a living thing flowing quickly and sparkling in its constant movement and shifting course (cp Lev 14:5,6,50-52; 15:13; Num 19:17). This life-giving water would flow rapidly out of Jerusalem half of it flowing east into the Dead Sea and half west into the Mediterranean Sea.

IN SUMMER AND IN WINTER: This water would flow all year round, even in the summer when most streams in Palestine dry up (cp Psa 46:4; Joel 3:18). The Israelites divided their year into two seasons instead of four: summer and winter (cp Gen 8:22; Psa 74:17; Isa 18:6).

"The streams of living water which flow from Jerusalem are not dried up by the parching heats of sultry midsummer any more than they are frozen by the cold winds of blustering winter. The seasons change and thou changest, but thy Lord abides evermore the same, and the streams of His love are as deep, as broad and as full as ever. The heats of business cares and scorching trials make me need the cooling influences of the river of His grace; I may go at once and drink to the full from the inexhaustible fountain, for in summer and in winter it pours forth its flood. Elijah found Cherith dry up, but Jehovah was still the same God of providence. Job said his brethren were like deceitful brooks, but he found his God an overflowing river of consolation. The Nile is the great confidence of Egypt, but its floods are variable; our Lord is evermore the same. By turning the course of the Euphrates, Cyrus took the city of Babylon, but no power, human or infernal, can divert the current of divine grace. The tracks of ancient rivers have been found all dry and desolate, but the streams which take their rise on the mountains of divine sovereignty and infinite love shall ever be full to the brim. Generations melt away, but the course of grace is unaltered. The river of God may sing with greater truth than the brook in the poem --
'Men may come, and men may go,
But I go on for ever' " (CHS).

Probably the water will be literal, but it certainly has symbolic significance as well (cp Psa 46:4; 65:9; Isa 8:6; 30:25; 33:21; 41:18; 43:19,20; Jer 2:13; Eze 47:1-12; John 4:10-14; 7:38; Rev 22:1-2).

Zec 14:9

Vv 9-11: The security of Israel.

In that day Yahweh would rule over the whole earth (cp Eze 37:27,28; Psa 2:5,6; 72:8-11; Isa 2:4; 54:5; Zec 4:14; 6:5). He would be the only king; there would be no others. His name would be one, and foremost, in the earth; there will be no other so-called gods (cp Deu 6:4,5). This of course refers to Christ's millennial kingdom (cp Psa 2; Mat 6:9,10).

"Israelites for generations had been singing 'The LORD reigns' (Psa 93; 97; 99), but it had been a declaration of faith. Once 'that day' comes He will be seen to be King over His world kingdom" (Baldwin).

Zec 14:10

THE WHOLE LAND... WILL BECOME LIKE THE ARABAH. BUT JERUSALEM WILL BE RAISED UP: The land around Jerusalem will become level, whereas Jerusalem itself will be elevated (apparently due to a great earthquake; cp Isa 2:2; Rev 16:18,19). This will accentuate the position and height of God's city, both physically and spiritually.

Zec 14:11

IT WILL BE INHABITED; NEVER AGAIN WILL IT BE DESTROYED. JERUSALEM WILL BE SECURE: People would live in millennial Jerusalem. Jerusalem would never again suffer depopulation by being put under the curse (or ban, Heb "cherem"). Canaanite cities placed under the ban were totally destroyed (Josh 6:17-18). In other words, the city and those in it would enjoy security because Jerusalem would never again be destroyed.

Zec 14:12

Vv 12-15: The destruction of Israel's enemies.

THIS IS THE PLAGUE...: See Lesson, Plague, pestilence, and disease in the Last Days.

Zec 14:13

Panic would seize them from the LORD in that day, and they would fight one another (cp Jdg 7:22; 1Sa 14:15-20; 2Ch 20:23).

Zec 14:14

The Israelites would also fight their enemies there and would gather much spoil from the people they would defeat. Thus there are three instruments God would use to defeat Israel's enemies: plague (v 12), themselves (v 13), and the Israelites (v 14).

WEALTH: Incl oil wealth of Gulf states?

ALL THE SURROUNDING NATIONS: See Lesson, Nations "round about".

GOLD AND SILVER AND CLOTHING: The wealth of the Gentiles will flow towards Jerusalem to glorify the Temple: Isa 60:9; Hag 2:8,9.

Zec 14:15

The plague that the LORD would send on Israel's enemies (v 12) would also afflict their animals precluding their escape (cp Josh 7:24,25).

Zec 14:16

Vv 16-21: The worship of the sovereign king.

The remaining former enemies of Israel who would not die would bow to the sovereignty of Yahweh (cp Zec 8:20-23; Isa 2:2-4; 45:21-24; 60:4-14; Phi 2:10). They would be expected to make annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem to worship the one King, Almighty Yahweh (cp Psa 24:10; Isa 6:5; Rev 11:15; 19:16), and to celebrate the feast of Booths. The feast of Booths (or Tabernacles, Ingathering) commemorated the LORD's provision of agricultural bounty and the Israelites' redemption from Egyptian slavery. Strangers were welcome to participate in it in Israel's past history. It also anticipated entrance into the Promised Land and kingdom blessings (Lev. 23:34-43; Deu 16:13-15). It was the last of the three most important feasts on Israel's calendar, so it would be an appropriate one for these Gentiles to celebrate in Jerusalem yearly. This feast was a time of grateful rejoicing (Lev 23:40; Deu 16:14-15; Neh 8:17), and a time for celebrating the LORD "tabernacling" among His people (Rev 7:15-17; 21:3).

THE SURVIVORS: A quite ominous note: many will not survive: cp idea in Jer 25:33; 44:14,27; Isa 24:5,6; 66:16,19; Mat 24:22.

FEAST OF TABERNACLES: In ancient days, a unique combination of national holiday, Bible school, and rededication. Here, however, it seems to be held year-round. Cp Isa 19:23-25.

Zec 14:17

Vv 17-19: As punishment for not making the pilgrimage, the LORD would withhold rain from those who did not attend the feast (cp Psa 2:8-12; Rev 2:27; 12:5; 19:15). This was also a curse for covenant disobedience under the Mosaic Law (Deu 28:22-24). For example, if people from Egypt did not go up to Jerusalem, the LORD would withhold rain from them. This would be His punishment on any nation that did not participate (cp Zec 9:11 -- 10:1). Rain is a figure for spiritual blessing (cp Eze 34:26), but both literal and spiritual blessing are probably in view here.

Zec 14:18

"Egypt was an exception among the nations because it depended for water not on rainfall but on the Nile. As Egypt had experienced plagues at the time of the Exodus, and through them had been brought to acknowledge God's sovereignty, so plague was a fitting symbol of disaster in the new era" (Baldwin).

Zec 14:20

In that day even the most common things would be as consecrated to God's glory as the gold plate on the high priest's turban that previously indicated his consecration (Exo 28:36). This plate was to remind the Israelites of their holy calling as well. Finally all the people would indeed be consecrated to the LORD and would fulfill their holy calling (cp Exo 19:6; Jer 2:3). The ordinary cooking pots in the temple would be as holy as the bowls used to sprinkle the sacrificial blood on the brazen altar had been.

BELLS: The very horse-bridles once bathed in blood (Rev 14:10) will be as holy as the garments of the High Priest (Exo 28:33-36).

COOKING POTS... SACRED BOWLS: The earthen pots (2Co 4:7) shall be as the golden bowls before the altar -- having been filled with the treasure of the LORD's message.

Zec 14:21

THERE WILL NO LONGER BE A CANAANITE IN THE HOUSE...: Ct Gen 12:6: "At that time the Canaanites were in the land."

The Canaanites throughout Israel's history represented people who were morally and spiritually unclean, reprehensible to Yahweh, and doomed to death (cp Gen 9:25; Isa 35:8; Eze 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.
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