A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
A day of the Lord is coming when your plunder will be divided among you. I 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. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle.
On 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. You 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. On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime-a day known to the Lord. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name. (Zech 14:1-9)
In view of the current emphasis on peace in the Middle East, we should take another look at how (and when) this conflict between Israel and the rest of the world will be resolved. Let’s take these nine verses individually to see what they say.
1) A day of the Lord is coming when your plunder will be divided among you.
By the time we get to verse 4 it will be clear that Zechariah is speaking of the time leading up to the actual day the Lord arrives on the Mount of Olives to establish His Kingdom. The plunder spoken of is Jerusalem itself, and the phrase “among you” literally means in your midst or in front of your faces. As we’ll see, the city will be divided yet again, not by negotiations but by force.
2) I 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.
The phrase “all the nations” points to a time still in the future when all of Israel’s allies will have abandoned her. This could only happen after the Rapture of the Church, when the Christian influence that keeps the US and some other western countries at least nominally allied with Israel is long gone. This is the final battle of the age, Armageddon.
3) Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle.
This is a clear reference to the Lord’s role as Israel’s real commander-in-chief just as He was through out the Old Testament.
4) On 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.
The Lord in this reference is King Jesus, returning like He said He would, to the very spot from which He left (Acts 1:10-11). According to Isaiah 63:1-6, He will be coming from Bosrah (Petra) where He will have just fulfilled His promise to protect the believing remnant of Israel from their enemies. His return will trigger an earthquake that creates an East / West cleft as the Mount of Olives is split in two. The geological fault line along which this split will occur has been discovered and runs from the Mediterranean in the west to the Dead Sea in the east. Its presence prohibited the Intercontinental Hotel (now called the Seven Arches Hotel) from being built on the brow of the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem as originally planned. It was re-located to the south and built on more stable ground where it stands today.
5) You 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 cleft creates a route of escape for those fleeing the battle. They will flee in fear for their lives, just as their ancestors did in the ancient past (Uzziah reigned from 792-740 BC in the time of Isaiah). The phrase Holy Ones is used 13 times in the Bible: 6 times its translated saints, 4 times holy and 3 times holy ones. Rev. 19:14 calls them the armies of Heaven. so I think Zechariah had angelic warriors in view. Also, the Lord didn’t build the Church to become His army, but to become His bride.
6-7) On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime-a day known to the Lord. When evening comes, there will be light.
Even a day without light from the Sun would normally cause freezing temperatures, but this day is unique in all of creation: warmth without light. The fact that evening brings light is reverse to all we know, but Matt. 24:29 says that one of the signs that the Great Tribulation has ended will be the absence of light from the Sun, Moon or stars. Rev 21:23-24 explains that the New Jerusalem has no need for the Sun or Moon for the Glory of God gives it light, and that the nations of Earth will walk by the light of the New Jerusalem as well. The phrase “on that day” means that Zechariah is describing the actual day the Lord arrives. He’ll be followed by the New Jerusalem, which will arrive at the end of the day to give light to the Earth.
8) On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter.
Ezekiel 47:1-12 tells us that fresh water will flow constantly from under the south end of the Temple and will fill the newly created valley with water that becomes a great river flowing west to the Mediterranean and East to the Dead Sea. A line drawn due west from the place on the Mount Of Olives where Jesus departed would pass through the Eastern Gate of the Temple Mount. That means the earthquake triggered by the Lord’s return will destroy the Temple Mount, consigning it forever to the bottom of the great river. Only a Temple constructed some place to the north of the current Temple Mount could survive to provide the flowing river on the Day that the Lord arrives. And sure enough, a comparison of the boundaries outlined in Ezekiel 48 with ancient maps of Israel reveals that the coming Temple will be built in Shiloh, where the Tabernacle once stood. (Read The Coming Temple for a complete explanation.)
9) The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.
This verse looks forward to Phil 2:9-11 which says,
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Together they tell us that eventually there will be peace in the Middle East and indeed the whole world, for the Prince of Peace will have become King of the whole Earth. Until then mankind will struggle in vain, grasping at one false hope after another, because if the truth be known the very existence of Israel is a cause for war in the Middle East.
But the Lord promised that after He re-gathered His people to Israel for the 2nd time He would never disperse them again (Isaiah 11:11 & Amos 9:11-15). This re-gathering began in 1948 and continues to this day. One day soon He will use an unexpected attack against Israel to reveal Himself to them and to the world in an undeniable way (Ezek 39:1-7) drawing every living Jew to Israel (Ezek 39:28) to re-establish His covenant, re-build His Temple, and complete the remaining 7 years of the Dispensation of Law (Daniel’s 70th Week).
But during that time a false messiah will emerge and lead the world astray again. Standing in the new Temple, he’ll claim that he is God and millions will be deceived (2 Thes.2:4). For a time it will appear as if he’s brought peace to the world, but while people are saying “peace and safety”, destruction will come upon them as suddenly as labor pains on a pregnant woman and they will not escape (1 Thes. 5:3). This is the Great tribulation, a 3 1/2 year long period of judgment unequaled from the beginning of the world and never to be equaled again (Matt. 24:21).
At its end the Lord will return to defeat this false god and those who have joined him. On that day the Lord will finally be King over the whole Earth, having taken possession of that which He redeemed with His own blood, and peace will flow like a river throughout the land. If you listen carefully you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 06-20-09