Zechariah 14 | The Lord Will Be King
Note: As with other passages it is very difficult to interpret and where to place the events described here, so I believe the best interpretation is simply to read it (mostly) literally.
1A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls.2I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.
- Other commentaries either think this being the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans or a future event directly preceding the return of Christ.
- The first option is certainly a possibility as only a few verses earlier at the end of chapter 13 it is talking about these events. ‘All nations’ could be figurative of the Romans since their reign had spread over many nations, and the details described seem to resemble the violence of the siege.
- However, I think the second option of a future event is more plausible as it fits better with the following narrative. This chapter would then be a parallel to chapter 12 which describes the same event; a future attack on national Israel by ‘all nations’.
3Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. 4On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
- The Lord will appear to fight for national Israel as depicted and described in chapter 12 too, He will appear when they are attacked and oppressed by all nations
- Christ will return and He will return to the Mount of Olives, whereby it will be like an earthquake splitting the Mount of Olives in two. This will provide the people of Jerusalem with a way of escape from the attack of the surrounding nations.
- God will come and make Jerusalem his dwelling place, along with all his ‘holy ones’ which would either be the heavenly host or the church (who will be raised to meet with Him – see 1 Thess 4:17).
6On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. 7It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.
- When Christ returns, it will be a unique day like no other. It will seem time itself will stop and all peoples of the earth will be aware of what is happening.
- Other passages describe that the natural behaviour of the sun, moon and skies will be changed when Christ returns (Joel 2:31)
- The exact details of this day are known only to the Lord, except that which He has revealed to us in His word.
8On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter.
- Ezekiel also depicts this river flowing out from the Temple in Jerusalem in Ezekiel 47, and it is also mentioned in Revelation 22.
- This is likely figurative and speaking of the cleansing work of Christ, providing living water which sustains us forever. This is the same thing as the ‘fountain which is opened to David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem’ at the start of chapter 13.
- The river is symbolic of providing life to the whole earth, flowing into the eastern sea and western sea – “His rule will extend from sea to sea” (Zech 9:10)
- ‘Summer and winter’ – speaking of an everlasting and continuously flowing river that does not dry up in summer or freeze over in winter.
9The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.
- This is really what the whole book of Zechariah has been building up to and what the gospel accomplishes through Jesus Christ. That God dwells with his people, whereby He is the only king, the only Lord and his name the only name! ‘Hallelujah, the Lord will be King!’
10The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up high from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses, and will remain in its place. 11It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.
- The places around Jerusalem will be flattened and made like a desert plain, but Jerusalem will be lifted up and exalted, possibly under the earthquake-like effects of Christ’s return.
- From then on it will always be inhabited, as the special dwelling place for Christ and his people
12This is the plague with which the Lord will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13On that day people will be stricken by the Lord with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another. 14Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. 15A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.
- For the nations that have come to Jerusalem to attack its people, God will fight against them and pour out a plague against their bodies, similar to how God inflicted the wicked with leprosy/plagues when they were disobedient (Number 16:46, 2 Chronicles 26:19).
- God will also throw the nations into panic and confusion to thwart their attack on the people of Jerusalem
- ‘Judah too will fight at Jerusalem’ as also described in chapter 12, God will enable and empower the humble and lowly people to fight
16Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 17If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain. 18If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The Lord will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 19This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.
- If read literally, then these events would fit with a premillennial view of the end times, whereby there will be a period after Christ’s return where sin and rebellion will still exist in the corners of the earth. Even if Christ were to come and reign as foretold here, there may be some who would still refuse to submit and honour Him as Lord and King, and for the period after His return they will not partake in His blessing. The Feast of Tabernacles could still be figurative here of the church recognising that we are simply foreigners on earth and are designed to dwell/tabernacle with God.
- If read figuratively, then these events would fit with an amillennial or postmillennial view of the end times, whereby Christ’s return will bring a near instant end to sin and rebellion. These events would figuratively describe the refusal of people to believe in Christ (even when he returns), their un-want to worship and dwell/tabernacle with God and their punishment instead of eternal blessing.
- As mentioned before I believe the simplest and most honest reading of the text is more literally, which also seems most consistent with Revelation 20 (The Thousand Years), and so I lean towards a premillennial view of the end times.
20On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. 21Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord Almighty.
- In the end, God will purify and make all things holy, for his glory. Even down to common items such as cooking pots, all things will be part of his glorious Kingdom and set apart (made holy) for His glory.
- ‘All who come to sacrifice’ – this cannot mean sacrifice for sin, for Christ was the sacrifice once for all, for all sin. The sacrifice mentioned here would be more like a ‘thanks offering’, for even in the New Testament we are to offer a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15) and to offer our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1), not to atone for sin, but simply as an act of worship!
- Canaanite – figurative of someone opposed to God, the Canaanites were the gentile dwellers of the promised land which were a nation of idolatry. There will be no such persons in Christ’s established kingdom, all will have been purified and made holy to God.
Christ will come again when the nations are gathered against Jerusalem, and he will pour out judgment on those that oppose him. He will establish his kingdom on earth for all those that belong to him and ultimately Christ will be king over all the earth and his name the only name. All things in his kingdom, from people to pots and pans, will be holy to the Lord.