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Wednesday, September 27th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 14

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Verse 1


This chapter describes the introduction of the realm of peace.

The Day for the LORD

We now come to a special day (cf. Zechariah 14:7), “a day for the LORD” (Zechariah 14:1), which has been spoken about so often. It is literally the day of the LORD, it is His day. By this is meant the period in which He openly claims and maintains the dominion over creation (Isaiah 2:12). That is the end of man’s authority under the leadership of Satan and of his contempt for God.

Christ will judge all enemies and also divide the spoil. The spoil will be Christ’s and He will divide it. The nations believe they have reached their goal and will be able to divide the spoil. But they have reckoned outside of Christ Who will deal with them on this day. He will do that in Har-Magedon.

Verses 2-3

The Nations Gathered and Judged

Here the last attack on and capture of Jerusalem by “all the nations” of the earth is described (Zechariah 14:2; cf. Zechariah 12:2). It is a self-willed act of the nations as they are gathered by the LORD for their battle against Jerusalem. The LORD stands behind the events and controls them, so that His purpose is achieved. That purpose is the liberation of His people by the judgment of their enemies.

At first it seems that the peoples are succeeding in their intention. They capture the city, plunder the houses and ravish the women. In doing so, they carry out God’s judgment on apostate Israel. They also take half of the population of Jerusalem into exile. But there is talk of “the rest of the people”, which is a remnant that is not cut off and stays in the city. So there is no total destruction of the city as there was in the year 70 AD. It is the last siege by the nations. If the Lord Jesus cuts them off, the times of the Gentile will have come to an end (Luke 21:24).

When the need is greatest, the LORD appears. His people are attacked and whoever touches them touches the apple of His eye. He will then go out of heaven (Revelation 19:11-Nehemiah :) to fight as He did before. We can think of His fight against the Egyptians when He frees His people from bondage (Exodus 14:14). He also fights for His people when they take possession of the land of Canaan (Joshua 10:14).

Verses 4-5

His Feet on the Mount of Olives

These verses have no prefill. They have yet to be fulfilled in their entirety. The Lord Jesus returns to the Mount of Olives from where He went to heaven (Zechariah 14:4; Acts 1:9-2 Kings :). “His feet”, the feet of the Lord Jesus, stand on the Mount of Olives. Here we have another proof that He is the LORD, Yahweh. He is the Son of Man Who comes with the clouds of heaven and He is also the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:13; Daniel 7:22). He is the LORD coming from the LORD, a mystery incomprehensible to us.

It seems that the touch of his feet causes an earthquake which splits the Mount of Olives in two. Because one half of the mountain faces north and the other half faces south, a “very large valley” is created that runs from east to west.

This valley will serve as an escape route (Zechariah 14:5). But who will flee here? Is that the remnant left in Jerusalem for whom an escape route is opened here by the LORD? More likely it is that the wicked suddenly see a possibility of fleeing from the coming Judge – which of course will turn out to be an illusion.

“The earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah” to which Zechariah refers took place two centuries earlier (Amos 1:1). It must have been an earthquake deeply engraved in the memory of the people, and it has become a fixed place in history. They then fled out of great fear of the earthquake. In this way one will not only flee from the enemy, but especially out of fear for the appearance of the LORD that accompanies such impressive natural phenomena.

The prophet is so full of what he sees, that in the last part of the verse he passes from descriptive to addressing. He sees in the mind how everything will go. He is so involved in it, that he turns unnoticed to Him Who shows him everything and proclaims: “And all the holy ones with You.” He speaks to the Lord Jesus. Zechariah represents the remnant here.

“The holy ones” who return with the Lord Jesus are not the angels. They are the Old Testament and New Testament believers who were all caught up at the coming of the Lord Jesus in the air (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-Job :). After all the believers are revealed before the judgment seat of Christ and the marriage of the Lamb is celebrated, they come back to earth with Christ.

In what follows, Zechariah first describes the full and certain result of the coming of the Lord Jesus (Zechariah 14:6-1 Kings :). Then he shows the judgment of the enemy (Zechariah 14:12-Ezra :) and what the consequences are (Zechariah 14:16-Ecclesiastes :).

Verses 6-7

A Unique Day

The day of the LORD will be a very special day. It is a day of judgment over the wicked, a day when all light is absent for them (Zechariah 14:6; Joel 3:15; Ezekiel 32:7-Ruth :; Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:12). There is only thick darkness for them (Amos 5:18).

It is a unique day known only to the LORD (Zechariah 14:7). This day does not begin with light, but with darkness and ends not with darkness, but with light. The light does not disappear in the evening, but it remains light. That light comes from Him Who is the Sun of righteousness. He does not set, but will continue to shine for a thousand years.

Verses 8-11

The LORD is the One and Only

When the Lord Jesus rules, Jerusalem will be a fountain of blessing for the earth (Zechariah 14:8). Living waters will flow out of the city. That waters flow in two directions. It flows in easterly direction, “toward the eastern sea” which is the Dead Sea. It also flows in westerly direction, “toward the western sea” which is the Mediterranean Sea. The blessing that flows out of Jerusalem will not dry up. Summer and winter the water flows continuously (Ezekiel 47:1-Ruth :; Joel 3:18).

At that time, the LORD is King, not only over Israel, but “over all the earth” (Zechariah 14:9). Therefore, the confession of the Jew will be the confession of the Gentiles, that the LORD is the Only One and His Name is the Only Name. Then there will be no more idols to be served (cf. Zechariah 13:2). Only one Name will be mentioned and heard. In that blessed time there will be only one religion, only one way in which that religion is practiced.

Zechariah 14:10 describes the restoration of the land. In the midst of a plain lies Jerusalem as a radiant climax (Zechariah 12:6; Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1). “Geba” lies in northern Benjamin (Joshua 21:17) and “Rimmon” in southern Judah (Joshua 15:32). Several well-known names of buildings in Jerusalem are mentioned, which makes it clear that it is about the earthly Jerusalem and not about the heavenly.

Jerusalem has been restored. The inhabitants of the city will no longer suffer any burden (Zechariah 14:11). They are free of any yoke. There is nothing more to fear. They are safe.

Verses 12-15

The Judgment Described Once More

In these verses Zechariah once again describes the extermination of the nations that have gone to war against Jerusalem. He has already talked about this in the first verses of this chapter, but here he adds a few more details. The LORD will also send a supernatural plague for the defeat of His enemies and by doing so he will bring down the enemy (Zechariah 14:12). In this way He executes a lightning-fast judgment on the military power of the enemies. The citizens of the enemy nations are judged when Christ has established the throne of His glory on earth. Then He will separate the nations into sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-1 Corinthians :).

With the enemies, attention is focused on “their eyes”. Their eyes “will rot in their sockets” because they have only looked at their supposed booty in greed. Also “their tongue” is mentioned. Their tongue “will rot in their mouths” because with it they have blasphemed the LORD.

The nations that have gone to war against Jerusalem will partly rot as a result of a plague sent by the LORD (Zechariah 14:12). Another part will be killed by the sword of their own army (Zechariah 14:13). A last part will be killed by the remnant of Judah who took up arms (Zechariah 14:14).

In addition to the physical rotting, there will also be a confusion among them, worked out by the LORD, through which each will see his fellow warrior as his enemy (cf. Judges 7:22; 1 Samuel 14:15-Proverbs :; 2 Chronicles 20:23). Internal division will also be a means by which the enemy will perish. This takes place before the walls of Jerusalem.

A third cause of the downfall of the enemies is the faithfulness of Judah. They will expel the enemy (Zechariah 14:14). This will bring them a great booty. Judah will not fight against, but in Jerusalem. There are some who have fled into Judah and are now coming back to liberate Jerusalem. After the battle, the spoil will be divided (2 Chronicles 20:21-Lamentations :).

Animals in the service of the enemy will also be judged (Zechariah 14:15; Zechariah 12:4; 1 Samuel 15:3). All means employed by Satan in his struggle against God and His people will be exterminated.

Verses 16-19

The Feast of Booths

After all enemies have been judged, i.e. the enemy armies of the heathen peoples, the realm of peace can begin. “any who are left of all the nations” will go up annually to Jerusalem for the feasts (Zechariah 14:16). Of all the feasts of the LORD mentioned in Leviticus 23, the Feast of Booths is mentioned by name. It is the last feast of the cycles of feasts. It is celebrated when the whole harvest has been brought in. It is the last and the culmination of all feasts.

The Feast of Booths is mentioned here because this feast itself finds its fulfilment in the millennial realm of peace. During the feast, the wilderness journey of the people is remembered and also the more than two thousand years that the people have wandered through the wilderness of the peoples. All the nations, the rest of them, the nations which the Lord Jesus calls ‘sheep’ (Matthew 25:31-:), celebrate it with them, most probably through a delegation which they send to Jerusalem. They will worship the Messiah.

In the realm of peace, it is still necessary to rule in order to restrain sin. It is not yet the perfect state. On families that do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the LORD, no rain will fall. As a result, there will be no harvest for them (Zechariah 14:17). Of the heathen peoples, Egypt is specially mentioned (Zechariah 14:18-Psalms :).

We should not infer from these verses that at the time of the completion of the kingdom of God there will still be heathens who will refrain from worshiping the true God. The idea is simply that there will then be no more room for heathenism within the sphere of the kingdom of God. We see this emphatically in the two following verses that form the end of this chapter and this book, where all unholy things will be removed from the kingdom.

The application of the Feast of Booths for us is that the Lord Jesus appreciates it when we think back to what He did on the cross. We do this on earth especially when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper and proclaim the Lord’s death. We will remember for all eternity what He did because we will always see the Lamb standing, as if slain (Revelation 5:6).

Verses 20-21

Everything Is Dedicated to the LORD

While outside Israel evil is judged, within the people everything is “HOLY TO THE LORD”, that is, everything is dedicated to Him. The whole life will be pervaded by the holiness of the LORD. The people will then be the holy nation that God has always envisioned (Exodus 19:6). What used to stand only on the turban of the high priest (Exodus 28:36) is now read everywhere, which will be true in practice. Earlier, horses of the enemies were struck by the curse (Zechariah 14:15), here horses contribute to the glorification of the LORD.

The same goes for the cooking pots in the house of the LORD. These cooking pots are, as it were, upgraded to a service directly related to the altar, i.e. they contribute to the worship of the LORD. All ordinary utensils are used for multiple glorification of God. This is already true for us. Everything we do, including the ordinary eating and drinking, should be for the glory of God (Colossians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

What is true for the cooking pots in the house of the LORD, is true for “every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah” (Zechariah 14:21). Every everyday utensil shall be dedicated to the LORD and will be used to His honor. Every object throughout the land will be so holy that it could be used in the temple.

With this presentation Zechariah wants to speak to the heart of his people. He wants them to think about that future time and then make sure that they bring everything in line with it. Also for us it is important to take the house of God, the church, seriously. This means that we dedicate everything in our whole lives, seven days a week and twenty-four hours a day. Everything in God’s church has to serve to the glory of Him of Whom the house is.

Everything that has always endangered service to the LORD will then no longer be there. The merchants – that is the meaning of the name Canaan – will no longer be there to turn the things of the Lord into merchandise. The Lord cleansed the house of His Father of merchants as the first act in the temple (John 2:16). The time when religion is merchandise is gone forever. The judgment on the roman catholic church as an economic power indicates this (Revelation 18:15-Jeremiah :).

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Zechariah 14". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/zechariah-14.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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