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Zechariah sees Israel’s promised future
Zechariah 12:1-14, “(1) An Oracle The word of the LORD concerning Israel. A declaration of the LORD, Who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundation of the earth, and formed the spirit of man within him.
(2) “Look, I will make Jerusalem a cup that causes staggering for the peoples who surround the city. The siege against Jerusalem will also involve Judah.
(3) On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who try to lift it will injure themselves severely when all the nations of the earth gather against her.
(4) On that day”–the LORD’s declaration–“I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness. I will keep a watchful eye on the house of Judah but strike all the horses of the nations with blindness.
(5) Then each of the leaders of Judah will think to himself: The residents of Jerusalem are my strength through the LORD of Hosts, their God.
(6) On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves; they will consume all the peoples around them on the right and the left, while Jerusalem continues to be inhabited on its site, in Jerusalem.
(7) The LORD will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of David’s house and the glory of Jerusalem’s residents may not be greater than that of Judah.
(8) On that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the one who is weakest among them will be like David on that day, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD, before them. (9) On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”
Much of this is seen in Isaiah 29, Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 38-39 & Micah 4.
“(10) Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at Me Whom they pierced.
They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for Him as one weeps for a firstborn.
(11) On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning of Hadad–rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.”
This refers to the mourning over King Josiah’s death which is recorded in 2Kings 23:29 and 2Chron. 35:20-25. Josaih was a great and godly king, much beloved of all the people. At his death the whole nation wept bitterly.
“(12) The land will mourn, every family by itself: the family of David’s house by itself and their women by themselves; the family of Nathan’s house by itself and their women by themselves; (13) the family of Levi’s house by itself and their women by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself and their women by themselves; (14) all the remaining families, every family by itself, and their women by themselves.”
The type of weeping here is repentant in nature and is written the way it is to infer that the repentance is both individual and national.
This is the end of the time of the Gentiles – the time when God will once again turn His attention towards Israel as a nation with whom He cut covenant through the death and blood of their Messiah.
I do not pretend to know precisely when this happens but it seems to me it will nearly HAVE to follow the time of the Great Tribulation.
The first 3½ years will offer a temporary cessation of war. The one we call antichrist will have instigated a peace between Israel and the Arab nation. It will be a peace of tolerance.
The second 3½ years will begin with the antichrist turning against Israel. He will break his covenant with them and personally move into the restored Jewish temple in Jerusalem and declare himself to be god.
This is the abomination of desolation or the abomination that makes desolate spoken of in Daniel and prefigured in Antiochus Epiphanes. Until his destruction, he will plague the Jews and will be their enemy. God will permit this for a time.
At this point God will begin judging the earth, especially the Gentiles who have had thousands of years to respond to the gospel and have largely rejected it.
At the end of this time period Jesus will come to earth along with all of us who died before or were part of the rapture of the church to set up His millennial kingdom in Jerusalem. He will first set foot on the Mount of Olives, dividing it in two, creating a valley between the two halves. He will have satan bound and thrown into the abyss for a thousand years and God will gather all Jews back to Israel.
They will see Jesus for Who He is and mourn for their mistreatment of Him (not directly but through their forefathers). Israel will live in peace and prosperity there so much that they will not even build walls to protect against potential enemies.
At some point God will place it into the minds of the leaders of Gog and Magog to stir up surrounding nations against Israel. They will apparently attack by horse, unless that is spoken metaphorically. God will deliver Israel both directly and through its leadership.
Following this, as this passage says, they will bury the dead for months and use the wood from the weapons of war used against them as firewood for 7 years.
Following this great battle, people will begin to steam to Jerusalem, seeking God and asking to learn His ways. However, not all people will honor Jesus.
“(1) On that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the residents of Jerusalem, to wash away sin and impurity.
(2) On that day”–the declaration of the LORD of Hosts–“I will erase the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered. I will remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land. (3) If a man still prophesies, his father and his mother who bore him will say to him: You cannot remain alive because you have spoken falsely in the name of the LORD.
When he prophesies, his father and his mother who bore him will pierce him through.
(4) On that day every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies; they will not put on a hairy cloak in order to deceive.
(5) He will say: I am not a prophet; I am a tiller of the soil, for a man purchased me as a servant since my youth.
(6) If someone asks him: What are these wounds on your chest?–then he will answer: The wounds I received in the house of my friends.”
Now these words have often been mistakenly used as referring to Jesus, but in this instance that is NOT the case.
In ancient times, false prophets would often lacerate themselves. This was for unknown reasons, though it is likely that they were possessed and were therefore driven to this masochistic behavior. That may be what this is referring to in keeping with the fact that the one the passage is talking about are false prophets. Though this may also be the same person just wounded by his parents and this person attempts to play off his wounds as resulting from something other than blasphemy.
In any case it is NOT in reference to Jesus.
However, the next few verses do point to Christ IN HIS OFFICIAL capacity as Messiah. This is another example of one of those Jewish writing styles which seem to first go backward in order to proceed forward.
“(7) Sword, awake against My Shepherd, against the man Who is My associate–the declaration of the LORD of Hosts.
Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will also turn My hand against the little ones.”
Without the Spirit of the Lord, there is NO way the people of Zechariah’s day would have ANY notion as to what he was prophesying. However, when this day came it WAS known and spoken as fulfilled before their eyes. It was declared as fulfilled in Messiah by none other than Jesus the Messiah Himself. Matthew records this in chapter 26 – Let’s look at it!
Matthew 26:26-35, “(26) While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks He broke it, gave it to His disciples, and said, “Take, eat, this is my body.”(27) And after taking the cup and giving thanks, He gave it to them, saying,“Drink from it, all of you, (28) for this is My blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (29) I tell you, from now on I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
(30) After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
(31) Then Jesus said to them,“This night you will all fall away because of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ (32) But after I am raised, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
(33) Peter said to him, “If they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away!”
(34) Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, on this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”
(35) Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will never deny you.” And all the disciples said the same thing.”
Now, this passage skips ahead to the time again to the time of Paul when the majority of the nation of Israel, rejects the good news of the Kingdom of God in Jesus their Messiah. God responds by causing a partial hardening to come upon Israel and the time of the Gentiles begin. This was a living fulfillment of the parable Jesus taught of the Wedding Feast – [See – Matthew 22:1-14].
“(8) In the whole land–the LORD’s declaration–two-thirds will be cut off and die, but a third will be left in it.
(9) I will put this third through the fire; I will refine them as silver is refined and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say: They are My people, and they will say: The LORD is our God.”
So this refers to the majority of Israel who rejected Jesus, but the remnant which Paul speaks of is saved and at the time that will be ALL of Israel.
Romans 11:25-32,“(25) For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. (26) And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion; he will remove ungodliness from Jacob. (27) And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” (28) In regard to the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but in regard to election they are dearly loved for the sake of the fathers. (29) For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. (30) Just as you were formerly disobedient to God, but have now received mercy due to their disobedience, (31) so they too have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. (32) For God has consigned all people to disobedience so that he may show mercy to them all.”
“We know of a surety, because God has said it, that the Jews will be restored to their own land, and that they shall inherit the goodly country which the Lord has given unto their fathers by a covenant of salt for ever; but, better still, they shall be converted to the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, and shall see in Him the house of David restored to the throne of Israel.”
Israel being said to have gone through the fire speaks both of the adversities they sustained through the years for their rejection of Christ as well as that from antichrist just before Jesus’ return.
Even though these Jews did not accept Jesus before this time, they are devout Jews and this persecution perfects within them a worship of God which is answered by the return of the Lord in the Millennial Kingdom. Much like we have discussed these past two weeks on Sundays. The hearts which received the message of the Kingdom and bore fruit are those who were FIRST worshipers of God. It was to THEM that the Spirit gave the power to understand the message. In this case, it will empower Israel to recognize their Messiah!
“(1) A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided in your presence.
(2) I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle. The city will be captured, the houses looted, and the women raped.
Half the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be removed from the city.
(3) Then the LORD will go out to fight against those nations as He fights on a day of battle.
(4) On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east.
The Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, forming a huge valley, so that half the mountain will move to the north and half to the south.
(5) You will flee by My mountain valley, for the valley of the mountains will extend to Azal. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.
What is being referred to here is prophesied by Amos 2 years prior to its happening.
Amos 1:1, “The following is a record of what Amos prophesied. He was one of the herdsmen from Tekoa. These prophecies about Israel were revealed to him during the time of King Uzziah of Judah and King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel, two years before the earthquake.”
“Then the LORD my God will come and all the holy ones with Him.”
(6) On that day there will be no light; the sunlight and moonlight will diminish.
(7) It will be a day known only to Yahweh, without day or night, but there will be light at evening.
(8) On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea, in summer and winter alike.”
This is very likely the same time and occurrence spoken of in Ezekiel 47. The river that flows from the entrance of the Temple toward the east, down to the dead sea and out to the Mediterranean.
“(9) On that day Yahweh will become king over all the earth–Yahweh alone, and His name alone.
(10) All the land from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem will be changed into a plain. But Jerusalem will be raised up and will remain on its site from the Benjamin Gate to the place of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses.
(11) People will live there, and never again will there be a curse of destruction.
So Jerusalem will dwell in security.
(12) This will be the plague the LORD strikes all the peoples with, who have warred against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.
(13) On that day a great panic from the LORD will be among them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of one will rise against the other.
(14) Judah will also fight at Jerusalem, and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected: gold, silver, and clothing in great abundance.
(15) The same plague as the previous one will strike the horses, mules, camels, donkeys, and all the animals that are in those camps.
(16) Then all the survivors from the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of Hosts, and to celebrate the Festival of Booths.
(17) Should any of the families of the earth not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of Hosts, rain will not fall on them. (18) And if the people of Egypt will not go up and enter, then rain will not fall on them; this will be the plague the LORD inflicts on the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Booths.
(19) This will be the punishment of Egypt and all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Booths.
(20) On that day, the words HOLY TO THE LORD will be on the bells of the horses. The pots in the house of the LORD will be like the sprinkling basins before the altar.
(21) Every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the LORD of Hosts. Everyone who sacrifices will come and take some of the pots to cook in. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of Hosts.”
So, throughout the duration of the Millennial kingdom everyone on earth will be compelled to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If they fail to do so Jesus will cause their land to go without rain.
You may remember that the Feast of Trumpets follow seven days of “affliction” in anticipation of Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) on the 10th of Tishri and 5 days following that on the 15th of Tishri begins Saccoth – the Feast of Tabernacles which if all taken together paints a picture of all we just read.
Initially this Feast of Tabernacles represented the time when Israel was delivered from bondage to Egypt and came to serve and worship the Lord in the wilderness dwelling in tents. Thus Egypt is specifically addressed here in this prophecy.
Secondly, the Feast of Tabernacles was pointing to the birth of Jesus Who as Emmanuel became “God with Us”. So it is that He tabernacled among us as ONE of us.
Thirdly and finally, this Feast of Tabernacles represents BOTH the Millennial reign of Christ – tabernacling in Israel.
“The repentance that comes to Israel in that day will be like a great mourning, the ultimate fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, the day of national mourning over their greatest sin – rejecting Jesus.”
Now, during the Millennial age Israel will prosper and live in peace. They will not learn war anymore and all the earth will know Israel is God’s covenant people.
Of this time the prophets often prophesied. Here are but two. One from Micah and one from Isaiah.
“(1) In the future the LORD’s Temple Mount will be the most important mountain of all; it will be more prominent than other hills. People will stream to it. (2) Many nations will come, saying,
“Come on! Let’s go up to the LORD’s mountain, to the temple of Jacob’s God, so he can teach us his ways and we can live by his laws.”
For instruction will proceed from Zion, the LORD’s message from Jerusalem.
(3) He will arbitrate between many peoples and settle disputes between many distant nations.
They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not use weapons against other nations, and they will no longer train for war.
(4) Each will sit under his own grapevine or under his own fig tree without any fear. The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has decreed it.
(5) Though all the nations follow their respective gods, we will follow the LORD our God forever.” – Micah 4:1-5
“(18) At that time the deaf will be able to hear words read from a scroll, and the eyes of the blind will be able to see through deep darkness.
(19) The downtrodden will again rejoice in the LORD; the poor among humankind will take delight in the Holy One of Israel.
(20) For tyrants will disappear, those who taunt will vanish, and all those who love to do wrong will be eliminated – (21) those who bear false testimony against a person, who entrap the one who arbitrates at the city gate and deprive the innocent of justice by making false charges.
(22) So this is what the LORD, the One Who delivered Abraham, has said to the family of Jacob:
“Jacob will no longer be ashamed; their faces will no longer show their embarrassment. (23) For when they see their children, whom I will produce among them, they will honor My name. They will honor the Holy One of Jacob; they will respect the God of Israel. (24) Those who stray morally will gain understanding; those who complain will acquire insight.”
As for us…
Now all throughout this time period you and I will be in our glorified bodies and ruling and reigning with Christ.
When the thousand years come to an end, satan is released again for a short time. He will stir up nations to rise up against Jesus, but when they attack, God the Father will destroy them with the breath of His mouth. This will begin the time of the Great White Throne Judgment.
All of us will attend that judgment as the jury and as material witnesses. We will judge both the earth and the angels that fell. They will be cast into outer darkness. The earth will be renovated by fire and we will descend from heaven to the earth to live with the Lord forever!
This will be the actual and final expression of the Feast of Tabernacles, when God makes His tabernacle with all those Who are called His Own.
Rev. 21:1-7, NKJV “(1) Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. (2) Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (4) And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
(5) Then He who sat on the throne said,“Behold, I make all things new.”
And He said to me,“Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
(6) And He said to me,“It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. (7) He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”