Dear Heart of a Shepherd follower, I am glad to return with today’s devotional commentary as my wife and I recover from a bout with COVID this last week. It was the first interruption of our chronological 2-year study of the Scriptures (having posted 545 continuous days of daily devotions).
Today’s Scripture reading (Zechariah 13-14) concludes our study of the prophecies of Zechariah, prophet to the post-exilic people of the Babylonian captivity. He was a faithful servant of the LORD, and one whose ministry was to exhort those building the Temple to finish the work to which they had been appointed.
Zechariah was also privileged to foretell some of the great Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures. He foretold the Messiah would come to Jerusalem, “riding upon an ass, and upon the colt the foal of an ass,” and would be hailed as King (Zechariah 9:9; 11:12-13; Matthew 27:37; Mark 11:7-11). He predicted the Messiah would be betrayed (Zechariah 11:12-13; Luke 22:47-48; Matthew 26:14-16) for the purchase price of a potter’s field (Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 27:9-10).
Five centuries prior to Christ being crucified, Zechariah described the scene of His suffering on the cross, writing, “And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, And they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, And shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34; John 20:25-27). Notice the prophecies of Zechariah were fulfilled by Christ in exacting detail!
The prophetic setting of Zechariah 13 is the Second Coming of Christ, which began with Zechariah 12:1 and a portrayal of the Battle of Armageddon (12:2-8), and Israel’s deliverance from the heathen nations bent on that nation’s destruction (12:9-14).
When Christ returns to reign over the nations, there will be an ever-flowing fountain of God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness (13:1). The land will be purged of idols, and false prophets will be silenced (13:2-6).
Drawing a prophetic picture of Christ’s betrayal, and the disciples fleeing when He was arrested, we read, “against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, Saith the Lord of hosts: Smite the shepherd [Christ], and the sheep [disciples] shall be scattered” (13:7).
Zechariah 13:8-9 gives a graphic biographical portrayal of what I believe predicts the great assault upon Judah and Jerusalem in the Tribulation. Two thirds of the people of Judah will be killed, and the 1/3 that survives will suffer a great affliction portrayed as a refining fire, and will call to the LORD who will hear their cries (13:9).
Zechariah 14 – Armageddon and the Second Coming
Nations Aligned Against Jerusalem (14:1-2)
The opening verses of chapter 14 predict Jerusalem will be overrun by the heathen nations of the world, and half the inhabitants will be led away as spoils of war (14:1). Yet, the gathering of those nations will be a testimony of the sovereignty of God, for it is He that will “gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle” (14:2a). The Jews will suffer the ravages of war, as Jerusalem “shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; And half of the city shall go forth into captivity” (14:2).
Glorious Triumphant Return of Jesus Christ (14:3-7)
In the hour when all seems lost for Jerusalem, the LORD will come roaring out of heaven, “and fight against those nations” for it will be “the day of battle” (14:3a). As conquering King, Jesus will stand upon the ridge of the Mount of Olives (14:4a), and it will divide beneath His feet forming a great valley (the result of a great earthquake, 14:4b; Isaiah 29:6; Revelation 16:18-19). The survivors of the siege of Jerusalem will flee to safety through the newly formed valley (14:5). In that day, light shall not be clear [light] nor dark, but a day known to the Lord (14:6-7).
Geographical Changes to Israel When Christ Returns (14:8-11)
Life-giving waters will flow from the Temple (Ezekiel 47:1-12; Joel 3:18), through Jerusalem. The waters will divide, flowing to the “former sea” (Dead Sea) and to the “hinder sea” (Mediterranean Sea, 14:8). The topography of the land will be changed as the hills and mountains about Jerusalem will be laid level like a plain, and Jerusalem will be lifted up (14:10). Because the LORD reigns in Jerusalem, there will be peace, and its people shall be safe (14:11).
Judgment of Israel and the LORD’s Enemies (14:12-15)
What becomes of those nations that gathered against Israel? All will be judged and afflicted by the LORD (14:12a). Some will suffer a flesh-eating plague that will consume their flesh (14:12b). Others will be afflicted with a disease when their eyes decay in their sockets (14:12c), and the tongues of others will be consumed (perhaps a picture of cancer, 14:12d).
All Israel will know that which afflicted their enemies was from the LORD, even as they turn against one another (14:13). Because the nations will pass through Judah to lay siege to Jerusalem, the people will seize the spoils of the heathen (14:14). The implements of war employed by Israel’s enemies will be destroyed (described here in terms the people in Zechariah’s day would understand, 14:15).
Conversion of the Nations to the LORD (14:16-19)
Not all the people of the nations will be destroyed, for some will turn to the LORD, and come to Jerusalem to worship Him (14:16). Notice too, both Israel and the people of the earth will make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to observe the Feast of the Tabernacles in the Millennial Kingdom (14:16b; Leviticus 23:33-44).
Yet, there will be some who survived the Great Tribulation that will eventually fail to go up “to worship the King, the Lord of hosts,” and will be judged and suffer drought (14:17). A nation like Egypt, that depends upon irrigation rather than rain, will suffer plague for failing to honor and worship the LORD (14:18-19).
A Perpetual Testimony to God’s Glory (14:20-21)
Everything about the Millennial Kingdom will be a testimony to God’s holiness. Even the bells on the harnesses of horses will give testimony as “HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD” (14:20a). The lowest pots in the LORD’s Temple will be equally holy as the “bowls before the altar” (14:20b). Indeed, everything “in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts” (14:21a). The Temple will be a holy place, and no unclean people will enter and defile it (14:21b). Why will sacrifices be offered during Christ’s earthly kingdom? They will serve as a lasting memorial to Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, and the sins of the world.
Closing thought – The book of Zechariah began with the prophet calling God’s people to repent, and ends with Israel being a holy nation, Jerusalem a city of peace and the center of worship, and the LORD reigning on His throne in the Temple.
Revelation 19:11, 14, 16 – 11And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war…14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean…16And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Copyright 2022 – Travis D. Smith
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