Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.CHAPTER 14
1. The last conflict and the manifestation of the Lord (Zechariah 14:1-5)
2. The complete salvation (Zechariah 14:6-11)
3. The punishment of the enemies (Zechariah 14:12-15)
4. The conversion of the world (Zechariah 14:16-19)
5. The holiness of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:20-21)
Zechariah 14:1-5. Post-millennialism has tried to find some explanation of this chapter, but has failed. The common view that the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in the year 70 A.D. is the burden of this prophecy is ridiculous. We read that “all nations will be gathered against Jerusalem.” Is this true of the destruction of Jerusalem under Titus? It was only one nation. Did the Lord then go forth and fight against the Romans? No! He used the Romans in judgment. Did His feet stand at that time upon the Mount of Olives? Did He come and all the saints with Him? Were the results of the year 70 the results predicted in the rest of this chapter? Any intelligent Christian must see how foolish it is to interpret this passage as having seen its fulfillment in the destruction of Jerusalem.
Nor is it true that previous sieges have fulfilled this chapter. Ptolemy Soter took Jerusalem about 315 B.C.; Antiochus the Great took the city in 203 B.C.; the Egyptian Scopus in 199 B.C.; Antiochus Epiphanes in 170 B.C. There were other sieges besides. But none of these sieges is predicted here. It is future.
What siege then is it? Some premillennial expositors have a very convenient way of calling everything “the battle of Armageddon” and claim that the twelfth and the fourteenth chapters predict one and the same event. But this is erroneous. It is not the beast, the head of the ten kingdoms, the Roman revived Empire. The details of prophecy concerning the last events can only be understood by distinguishing between the leaders of opposition. There is the beast, the political head of the western nations, the little horn of Daniel 7:1-28. He is in league with the second beast, coming out of the earth, with two horns like a lamb Revelation 13:1-18. This is the false Christ, the man of sin, who is also called in Revelation the false prophet. He has his seat in Jerusalem, where he poses as Israel’s Messiah-King and is worshipped as such. Then there is another, the king of the north, typified by the Assyrian, the great invader whom Ezekiel also describes. This king of the north is the sworn enemy of the one who is in Jerusalem, that is the false Messiah; they hate each other. The king of the north heads the confederacy of nations from the East, Russia, Persia, Gomer and different Asiatic nations. Then Jerusalem is finally attacked by these nations. It is this final attack which is described in this chapter (see Joel 2:1-32). But then the Lord goes forth, and fights against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle Exodus 14:1-31; 2Chronicles 20:15-37. He manifests His kingly power and glory in the defense of His city and His people. His feet stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, the place so well known in His earthly life, the place from which He departed to go back to the Father. A great physical upheaval takes place, for the mountain splits in the center, toward the east and west, forming a great valley between. The earthquake mentioned is the same to which Amos refers Amos 1:11. All this has never been; it is future, and the details of it will probably only be understood at the time of its fulfillment. The valley will be the avenue of escape, and the divided Olivet mountain will be ever after a witness to the literal fulfillment of God’s Word.
“And Jehovah my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee.” Different manuscripts and versions have instead of “with Thee”--”with Him.” But the difficulty is cleared up when we consider that it is the Seer who addresses Jehovah, whose feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives. Zechariah bursts out in speaking to Him, “And Jehovah my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee.” What a glorious manifestation it will be when He is present and all His holy angels with Him!
And it shall come to pass in that day That the light shall not be with brightness and with gloom, And the day shall be one. It shall be known unto Jehovah. Not day and not night. And at evening time there shall be light.
We believe that this passage means the physical phenomena in nature which are always connected with the day of the Lord Amos 5:18; Amos 8:9; Joel 2:31; Matthew 24:30, and other passages). Changes will then occur which will mean that the present order of day and night are superseded by another order, so that when the evening time comes it will be light. That day will Just be one day of light and glory. The glory light will probably be shining throughout the thousand years, and cover the earth as the waters cover the deep.
From verse eight (Zechariah 14:8) we learn that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem Ezekiel 47:1-23. This must be interpreted as a literal fact, and likewise as a symbol of the great spiritual blessings. “From the holy city go forth westward and eastward the waters which are destined to heal the long miseries of a world groaning under Satan’s thralldom, themselves the effect and symbol of the rich blessing which Jehovah then diffuses far and wide, and this above all the changes ordinary in nature; in summer and in winter it shall be. Drought and frost will not affect them; neither will the obstruction of the hilly ground toward the west; the waters shall flow as steadily toward the great sea on the west as to the Dead Sea on the east.” The Lord Jesus Christ, Jehovah, then shall be King over all the earth; and His Name shall be one. His throne is established over the earth and He rules the nations in righteousness. In that day of His glorious manifestation His Name will be revealed as the One who on earth declared “I and the Father are One”; He will be known as the One Lord and God, and worshipped as such. All idolatry is at an end and the abominations connected with it are abolished. Confusion is forever ended Zephaniah 3:9.
Other physical changes in the land are indicated in verse ten (Zechariah 14:10), and from verse eleven (Zechariah 14:11) we learn that there shall be no more curse and that Jerusalem shall dwell safely.
Zechariah 14:12-15. This is the description of the dreadful punishment which will befall the enemies in that day. It is to be read in connection with the third verse, the Lord fighting against those nations, and the punishment will be upon them when He appears. Thus it is seen in Revelation 19:1-21. He appears, and after His appearing there is the scene of punishment of the enemies. “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice to all the birds that fly in midheaven, Come and be gathered unto the great supper of God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses and them that sit thereon, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond and small and great” Revelation 19:17-21.
“And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against Me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh” Isaiah 66:24.
Zechariah 14:16-19. It is clear from this passage that some nations, or representatives of nations, will be left of those who came against Jerusalem. They, with all the other nations of the world, will then know the Lord and worship Him. The temple will then stand in Jerusalem as the house of glory and a house of prayer for all nations. There will be a perfect worship, grand and glorious, and it will not be confined to Israel, but the nations will join it. We may learn perhaps from this verse that the Lord will leave every year once His place on His throne over the earth and come down to Jerusalem and show Himself in His glory before the worshipping multitudes in the earth, as He is seen in the New Jerusalem above. The occasion is the feast of tabernacles. It is the millennial feast. It is a feast kept in remembrance of Israel’s journey through the wilderness for forty years and all their subsequent wanderings. It stands also for the ingathering of the full harvest. It is a feast of joy, praise, and thanksgiving. The Jews keep it to the present day, though few know the full meaning of it. Every year when it comes again they read this 14th chapter of Zechariah. It is strange indeed. What a glorious feast that will be, kept there in Jerusalem, when the fullness at last has come! The fullness of the Gentiles has been gathered in, and is in the New Jerusalem; the fullness of Israel has come in the earth, and their receiving has been life from the dead, and Gentiles know the glory of the Lord. Some find a difficulty here in the fact that it is stated that the nations, the residue of men, are to come up to Jerusalem, and the difficulty is that it will be impossible for all of them to do that. It is not at all necessary that every individual must go up to Jerusalem once in a year. Perhaps every nation will send representatives to the feast of tabernacles, and they come in the name of the different nations and bring their presents. This seems to be indicated in the visit of the wise men from the East, who came to Bethlehem to worship the new-born King Matthew 2:1-23. They brought gold, frankincense and myrrh. In Isaiah 60:6 we read of the coming of the Gentiles to Jerusalem when the Lord has come again. They shall come from Sheba; they shall bring gold and frankincense (the myrrh is left out here, for it speaks of suffering), and shall proclaim the praises of the Lord. As the wise men who came to Bethlehem were representatives of nations, so during the Millennium the nations will send delegations to the feast of tabernacles. What a scene that must be! How crowded Jerusalem will be by those from Greenland and from the interior of Africa, from India and the islands of the sea, as well as from the nations which composed the Roman empire. The ends of the earth have seen the salvation of God, and now their praise is heard in the city and mingling with the psalms sung by His own redeemed people.
On the other hand Zechariah 14:17-19 acquaint us with the fact that even during the coming age of the kingdom-glory there will be disobedience among the nations, which will be fully demonstrated at the close of the Millennium, when a final revolt takes place.
Zechariah 14:20-21. The most holy person in Israel, the high-priest, carried the inscription, “Holiness to Jehovah” around his mitre, but now even the little bells of the horses bear that inscription. In that temple which stands during the Millennium, sacrifices will be brought, but there will be no difference in the vessels which are used in Jerusalem, the meanest and smallest will be holy. In one word, all will be holy, all will be consecrated to Jehovah. What a perfect service that will be of the people which are then, in truth, a holy people. Application can be made of this to believers now. Surely everything the saint has, and his whole life, must be thus consecrated to Jehovah, to the Lord. No Canaanite will be there, nothing unclean. The Vulgate translates the word Canaanite with merchant. It stands, however, for everything that is unclean and an abomination. The city will be completely purged from it.
And of the New Jerusalem it is written, “There shall in no wise enter into it any thing unclean, or he that maketh an abomination and a lie, but only they that are written in the Lamb’s book of life.... Without are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie” Revelation 21:27; Revelation 22:15.