Study Notes

Zechariah 14:1-15


We are nearing the end of Zechariah's prophetic writings, being in the final chapter of the second burden of the Word of the Lord which began in chapter twelve. We have seen in this burden that Jerusalem is going to be the center of attention in the last days, and the object of a siege perpetrated by all the nations of the earth. God is going to intervene, bringing miraculous deliverance by the return of Jesus Christ to earth.

The last thing we saw in chapter thirteen was that,

Zech. 13:8-9 "And it will come about in all the land," declares the LORD, "That two parts in it will be cut off {and} perish; But the third will be left in it. And I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,' And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'"

In Revelation nine, we see that a third of mankind will be killed by three plagues. But of the Jews, the death rate during the Great Tribulation will be much higher. Two thirds of them will die because of the concentrated efforts of the antichrist to commit genocide against God's people. However, God will retain a remnant of the faithful. They will be brought through the fires of testing. As Malachi says,

Mal. 3:2-4 ...Who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD, as in the days of old and as in former years.

As we enter chapter fourteen, we are given more specific information about the events which will occur when all the nations will surround Jerusalem, and about the fires of testing which the remnant will have to endure.

14:1-3 Spoil Divided Among You

Israel is given some good news: After thousands of square miles have been stolen from them, after countless priceless treasures have been plundered throughout the years, after millions of Jews have been robbed of their fortunes, heirlooms, and personal possessions, everything will be given back. The land will be theirs again, the treasures will be restored, and the wealth stolen from the Jews will be returned.

The prophet Joel says that in that day when the nations are gathered, God will restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem (Joel 3:1-2).

The City Captured

However, it will definitely get worse before it gets better. First, there must come a terrible time of desperation. It will appear that Jerusalem will be devastated, that God is not going to come through. The city will begin to fall, and the nations will appear to have victory. But at the last possible moment, the Lord will come and fight against them. Jesus will return in victory.

14:4 The Mount Of Olives

Forty days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, the disciples stood on the Mount of Olives, listening to Him say that the Holy Spirit was going to come upon them and make them powerful witnesses. Then, all of a sudden, Jesus...

Acts 1:9 ...was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

As they stood there looking into the sky, two angels appeared and said,

Acts 1:11 ..."This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."

Now, here is the fulfillment of the promise that the angels gave to the disciples that day: He will return in just the same way, and at the same place. But when He comes back, the mountain will no longer look the same. You see, when He sets His feet on that mountain again, it will be split across the middle, from east to west. The mountain will move north and south.

It is interesting to me that a number of years ago, seismologists found a fault line running right through the Mount of Olives.

(Slide #1 - Fault Line)

As you can see by the slide, this earthquake fault "just happens" to be in a position to split the mountain exactly as the Bible says it will be split!

14:5 Fleeing By The Valley

When the Mount of Olives splits, it will create a valley which will provide a way of escape for the Jews. At the same time Jesus, along with His holy ones, who are the angels and the church, come to execute judgment upon the ungodly nations attacking Jerusalem.

(Slide #2 - Valley East)

This escape route extends to Aw-TSALE, the location of which is unknown to us. However, by looking at the fault-line, and looking at the map, my educated guess would be that it must be somewhere along this line pointing to the north end of the Dead Sea.

It is interesting that there is on the east side of the Mount of Olives a little village called Bayth Haw-AY-tsel, mentioned in Micah 1:1. It is quite possible that this is the place, and would make sense from a logistical standpoint, since they wouldn't need to run very far from the battle, since Jesus is now taking care of things.

The flight of the Jews from Jerusalem is compared to their flight before the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah. Although the Bible does not mention this event, it was obviously well-known to the Jews.

The Bible does mention in 2Chronicles 26 a terrible transgression of Uzziah that resulted in judgment. He became so proud that he violated the Law of God by entering the temple to burn incense on the altar of incense. The priests warned him to get out of the sanctuary before something terrible happened to him. His failure to heed their warnings resulted in him contracting leprosy. That is all the Bible tells us.

However, the historian Josephus adds some details which may reveal the history behind God's statement here:

And when they cried out that he must go out of the temple, and not transgress against God, he was wroth at them, and threatened to kill them, unless they would hold their peace. In the mean time a great earthquake shook the ground and a rent was made in the temple, and the bright rays of the sun shone through it, and fell upon the king's face, insomuch that the leprosy seized upon him immediately. And before the city, at a place called Eroge, half the mountain broke off from the rest on the west, and rolled itself four furlongs, and stood still at the east mountain, till the roads, as well as the king's gardens, were spoiled by the obstruction. (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 9.10.4)

This earthquake was so severe that it no doubt sent the inhabitants of Jerusalem fleeing for their lives. This visitation of Christ will produce the same result.

14:6-7 Strange Day And Evening

We know that during the tribulation period, the result of the fourth trumpet judgment was that...

Rev. 8:12 ...a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten, so that a third of them might be darkened and the day might not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.

Later, after the Millennial Kingdom is over, a new heavens and a new earth are created, and the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven.

Rev. 21:23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp {is} the Lamb.

But this event in Zechariah is between these things. This is the darkness referred to by Zephaniah when he says,

Zeph. 1:14-17 Near is the great day of the LORD, Near and coming very quickly; Listen, the day of the LORD! In it the warrior cries out bitterly. A day of wrath is that day, A day of trouble and distress, A day of destruction and desolation, A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and battle cry, Against the fortified cities And the high corner towers. And I will bring distress on men, so that they will walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; And their blood will be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung.

It seems that by the time evening falls, the clouds and darkness will be cleared away.

14:8-11 Living Waters Flowing

When Christ establishes his throne in Jerusalem on Temple Mount, waters will begin to flow out of Jerusalem, towards the east and west.

(Slide #4 - Living Waters)

The seas mentioned here are the Mediterranean to the west, and the Dead Sea, to the east.

All but one of these mountains will be leveled into plains - Temple Mount will rise high above the new plains of Israel, with rivers of water flowing from it. What is the source? Remember, God is called the Fountain of Living Waters (Jer. 2:13; 17:13).

You'll notice in my map that I have the exit point of the westward-flowing river at Ash-kel-ONE. This was not an arbitrary choice. In studying this through, I thought for sure that the Scriptures would somewhere mention where these waters were flowing. I wasn't disappointed! In Zephaniah, I found this passage:

Zeph. 2:6-7 So the seacoast will be pastures, with caves for shepherds and folds for flocks. And the coast will be for the remnant of the house of Judah, they will pasture on it. In the houses of Ash-kel-ONE they will lie down at evening; For the LORD their God will care for them and restore their fortune.

I believe that Ash-kel-ONE is the exit point of this river of water flowing from Jerusalem.

14:12-15 The Plague Upon The Nations

As we read earlier in Zephaniah, the fate of those who come against God's people will not be pretty. They will be decimated physically, and brought to judgment.

Next time, we will finish the book of Zechariah with its final six verses, which speak of the Feast of Booths being celebrated in the Millennial Kingdom, and the sinfulness of mankind which will remain.

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