Study Notes

Zechariah 14:16-21


It has been a couple of weeks since we last opened the book of Zechariah. To remind you, we are in the final few verses of Zechariah's second burden, or oracle, of the Word of the Lord. In this oracle, which began in chapter twelve, we have seen that Israel will be the center of world conflict. Jerusalem will be surrounded by the nations of the world, and attacked, but God will intervene supernaturally. Jesus will set foot on the Mount of Olives, splitting it in two, and He will fight against the nations attacking His people.

He will then establish His reign as king over all the earth for a thousand years. This is where we pick up, when Jesus sits on His throne in the Millennial Temple.

14:16 The Nations Left

By this time, many of the nations we know today will be gone. Jesus will have judged them. You recall in Matthew 15 that He described the judgment of the nations, and the criteria by which they will be judged:

Matt. 25:31-33 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

He goes on to say that the nations' judgments will be based upon their charity and provision for Christians:

Matt. 25:41-46 "Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me {nothing} to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

It seems that those nations who have imprisoned, tortured, and killed Christians for their faith, those who have made Bibles illegal, and forbidden missionaries from entering their borders, will be done away with.

Those who remain will not necessarily be the "Christian" nations, but will be required to celebrate the Feast of Booths.

The Feast Of Booths

The Feast of Booths is also called "the Feast of Tabernacles," and "the Feast of the Ingathering." It is an eight-day-long feast which begins four days after the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 23 says,

Lev. 23:39-41 ‘On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day. Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. You shall thus celebrate it {as} a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It {shall be} a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

They were to take this foliage of branches, boughs, and willows of the brook and make shelters. They were to live in these booths, or tabernacles, during this week to be a reminder of the fact that God's people lived in booths when He brought them out of Egypt.

Historically, the Jews would remember how God supernaturally sustained their ancestors in the wilderness by miraculous provision as He did when providing for them water from the rock.

As you recall, in Exodus 17 the people were camped at Ref-ee-DEEM and had no water. They quarreled with Moses and tested the Lord. They grumbled and said, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt just to die in the wilderness?"

Exod. 17:4-6 So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, "What shall I do to this people? A little more and they will stone me." Then the LORD said to Moses, "Pass before the people and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink."...

Moses did strike the rock, and the water poured forth.

To commemorate this event, on each of the first seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, the priests would draw water from the pool of Siloam. As the Levite singers sang the Hallel psalms, the priests would carry their pitchers of water in procession about a third of a mile north up to the Temple Mount. Then, as the crowds watched, they would pour the water out upon the pavement of the courtyard as a sort of reenactment of God pouring out water from the rock in the wilderness.

But then on the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the procession was silent - there was no singing. When the priests arrived at the temple on this day and tipped their pitchers, no water poured forth - the pitchers were empty.

This was to symbolize what God had promised in Deuteronomy eight, that He was...

Deut. 8:7 ...bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills

He had done as He promised - the Promised Land was well-watered. Since they were no longer in the wilderness, the Israelites had no need for God's supernatural provision of water from the rock.

But they did need water from God - supernatural water that they were not recognizing their need for. As this observance was performed year after year, the people must have felt something missing in their hearts. Then, one year,

John 7:37-38 Now on the last day, the great {day} of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'"

I believe that at the very moment the priests tipped their empty pitchers and the people felt that dryness, Jesus shouted out this statement. He was calling them to come to Him for living water, the water of the Holy Spirit.

Although they had it all together for water physically, having aqueducts, cisterns, pools, and wells, they had need of spiritual water. Their souls were thirsting for the living God (Psalm 42:1-2), and now the living God was calling to them.

In the future, in the Millennial Kingdom, everyone on earth will be expected to participate in the Feast of Tabernacles, coming to Him and drinking from the the source we read about in verse eight:

Zech. 14:8 And it will come about in that day that living waters will flow out of Jerusalem...

4:17-19 No Rain As Punishment

Hard as it is to imagine, there will be families that refuse to participate. They will not go to Jerusalem to worship, and they will be punished. The punishment will be that no rain will fall in their land - a drought caused by their rebellion.

You know, a lot of us have a simplified vision of God's plan. We think that we will either die or be raptured, and then we'll be in heaven forever. But the Millennial Kingdom accounts for one thousand years of our future. True, we will be in heaven with Jesus, but when the final day of the Great Tribulation comes, we will follow Jesus on white horses, being being relocated to earth for this thousand-year time period, to rule and reign with Christ.

Contrary to popular belief, this is not going to be heaven on earth. Sure, Jesus will be the king, physically located on earth. But remember that this reign is necessarily dictatorial (Ps. 2:9; Rev. 2:27; 19:15). Jesus...

Rev. 12:5 to rule all the nations with a rod of iron...

Although creation will be restored, the idols gone, and the unclean spirit removed from the land, human beings will still be sinful. They will rebel against God's authority, even as He is physically present on earth. Egypt, who remarkably makes it through the judgment of the nations, will be punished for not participating in the Feast of Booths. While most in the world are going to be refreshed by the living waters flowing from the fountain, those who rebel will be parched with dryness.

4:20-21 Bells And Pots Are Holy

During the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ on earth, everything is to be holy. Like U.S. currency is inscribed with "In God We Trust," many things in that day will bear the phrase, "Holy To The Lord."

No Canaanites

Significantly, there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord in that day. They really should have been gone long ago. Remember,

Num. 33:50-55 ...The LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan {opposite} Jericho, saying, "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their figured stones, and destroy all their molten images and demolish all their high places; and you shall take possession of the land and live in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it. And you shall inherit the land by lot according to your families; to the larger you shall give more inheritance, and to the smaller you shall give less inheritance. Wherever the lot falls to anyone, that shall be his. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers. But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them {will become} as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land in which you live.'"

Today, as we continue to see conflict in the Middle East over Israel's possession of the land, we know that it is because they failed to obey the Lord. But one day, God's command to drive out the Canaanites from the land will be fulfilled. They will no longer inhabit the land of Israel, and her borders will be stretched to cover ever inch of the Promised Land.

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