Recall that Zachariah 13:1-14-2 is a prophecy about the Day of the Lord’s wrath upon Israel for their rejection and crucifixion of their Messiah and King and how He used Rome in 70 A.D. to scatter the Jewish nation throughout the world and place them into a time of abeyance (being set aside in punishment till Israel’s regathering just prior to her restoration). The chapter break is arbitrary. 14:3 picks up after the Church Age, but still in that Day of the Lord which began back then and paused at Israel’s abeyance. As we read from 13 into 14 it is a continuous flow.
Taking up where the prophecy left off in Part 3, Israel was under siege by the Roman army composed of troops from all over the Roman empire, i.e., the whole Roman “world.” With total disregard for the “Age of Grace,” Zechariah 14:2 to 14:3 jump from 70 A.D. to the End-Time when Israel is back in the land.
“3Then [at the end of the age] shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (Zechariah 14:3-5 KJV).
- A leap in time is not uncommon in Scripture. The most notable example is in Luke 4:18-19 where Jesus, reading from Scripture, takes a two-thousand year pause at the comma in Isaiah 61:2, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD “,” and the day of vengeance of our God…” (Isa 61:2 KJV). Christ stopped at the comma, just before that terrible day.
In verse 3 we find Israel is again/still under siege. In 14:1-2 the invading nations who gathered against Israel – the Roman troops – conquered the city and are “dividing the spoil” of their conquest right in her midst. In 14:3 the nations are there as forces of the one we call “antichrist.” (This would be a good place to read Daniel 7:19-28).
- Chapter 13-14:2 we see the Shepherd – Jesus – slain and the sheep plundered, ravaged, and scattered, the conquering army dividing a spoil being in their midst. At 14:3 the table has turned. The resurrected Jesus comes from His seat on the throne of God to fight against the invading forces. CONTEXT – two different scenarios.
- Different prophecies throughout Scripture join together to make up the whole. Too often we tend to focus on a single prophecy – today it is usually the Gog/Magog invasion of Ezekiel getting the attention. That myopic vision is why we generally are lost trying to understand End-Time events. Most students of Scripture do not understand that the CONTEXT is the entire Bible.
Here, Jesus Christ has suddenly stepped from His throne in heaven right into time to intervenes on behalf of His people, the remnant who compose true Israel.
Zachariah is prophesying to Israel about things concerning their nation (he is not prophesying to us or about us). The story has jumped right to the last days without any mention of the Church – which has been raptured by this time. Notice in verse 2, the Jews are defeated and a spoil is being divided in their midst. Verse 3 is an entirely different conflict. This time, Christ is involved, “as when he fought in the day of battle.” Many expositors teach that this was against the Roman armies of 70 A.D., but that simply doesn’t fit the CONTEXT.
- Jamerson-Fausset-Brown commentary explains, “. . . as when Jehovah fought for Israel against the Egyptians at the Red Sea (Ex 14:14; 15:3). As He then made a way through the divided sea, so will He now divide in two “the Mount of Olives” (Zec 14:4).”
Once again, we Westerners tend to have difficult comprehending this shift in time and place – being reared in the Greek-Hellenistic philosophical tradition where one thing flows neatly into the next and where one calendar days/months/years/centuries/millennia flow in logical sequence. Contradictions are not allowed. This order is not observed in Eastern thought or the Hebraic tradition. Their focus is more on concepts, and not on logical order. Tim Hegg explains our predicament in his article “My Big Fat Greek Mindset.” Another expert in the field is Valery Moody who has a series by the same title worth watching on YouTube.
4And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south” (Zechariah 14:4 KJV).
Verse 5 implies that the splitting of the mount of Olives is the result of an earthquake, as confirmed in Isa 29:6 and Rev 18-19.
My question is, does this order of events in any way fit into the scenario of 70 A.D.? Did Jesus touch down on the mount of Olives and did it cleave, opening a valley for the Jews to escape? Of course not. This is End-Time, separated from the slaying of Messiah in the previous chapter, though one flows right into the other without interruption. Not a single event of this chapter fits Christ’s first Advent.
5And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: (same as Beth-Azal located at the end of the mountain range, most likely destroyed by the Romans) yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (Zechariah 14:5 KJV).
The word Saints here is Strong’s H6918 קָדוֹשׁ qâdôwsh kaw-doshe’ and means, holy ones. This can be applied to angels and to the raptured as well.
An interesting Parenthetical by Arno Gaebelein (born 1861) on Zech 14:1-5
What siege then is it? Some premillennial expositors have a very convenient way of calling everything “the battle of Armageddon” and claim that the twelfth and the fourteenth chapters predict one and the same event. But this is erroneous. It is not the beast, the head of the ten kingdoms, the Roman revived Empire. The details of prophecy concerning the last events can only be understood by distinguishing between the leaders of opposition. There is the beast, the political head of the western nations, the little horn of Da 7. He is in league with the second beast, coming out of the earth, with two horns like a lamb (Re 13). This is the false Christ, the man of sin, who is also called in Revelation the false prophet. He has his seat in Jerusalem, where he poses as Israel’s Messiah-King and is worshipped as such. Then there is another, the king of the north, typified by the Assyrian, the great invader whom Ezekiel also describes. This king of the north is the sworn enemy of the one who is in Jerusalem, that is the false Messiah; they hate each other. The king of the north heads the confederacy of nations from the East, Russia, Persia, Gomer and different Asiatic nations. Then Jerusalem is finally attacked by these nations. It is this final attack which is described in this chapter (see Joe 2). But then the Lord goes forth, and fights against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle (Ex 14; 2Ch 20:15-17). He manifests His kingly power and glory in the defense of His city and His people. His feet stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, the place so well known in His earthly life, the place from which He departed to go back to the Father. A great physical upheaval takes place, for the mountain splits in the center, toward the east and west, forming a great valley between. The earthquake mentioned is the same to which Amos refers (Am 1:1). All this has never been; it is future, and the details of it will probably only be understood at the time of its fulfillment. The valley will be the avenue of escape, and the divided Olivet mountain will be ever after a witness to the literal fulfillment of God’s Word.
“And Jehovah my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee.” Different manuscripts and versions have instead of “with Thee”–“with Him.” But the difficulty is cleared up when we consider that it is the Seer [Zechariah] who addresses Jehovah [Jesus], whose feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives. Zechariah bursts out in speaking to Him, “And Jehovah my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee.” What a glorious manifestation it will be when He is present and all His holy angels with Him! [saints: Mt 24:30; Re 1:7, “clouds of heaven.” Presumably, the raptured Church along with the holy angels-emphasis mine.]
- NOTE on antichrist – last times – beast powers:
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1Jo 2:18 KJV). The term “antichrist” is overused and abused to the point we really do not know what it means. The term is used only four times in the entire Scripture, and only by the Apostle John (1Jo 2:18, 22; 1Jo 4:3; 2Jo 7). According to John, antichrist is a spirit and NOT any specific person. Anyone opposing Christ, as John states, is an antichrist. Both beasts of Rev 13, along with many others, fit the bill.
- Notice that John said in his time that “it is the last time.” The “last time” of John’s Day was interrupted by Israel’s unfaithfulness, their abeyance (temperately being set aside) and the Church Age – soon to come to an end. The “last time” began in the time of the Apostles, leaps over the Church Age, and will continue after the rapture.
- Paying attention to the text, it is apparent that “beast” are not individuals. They are kingdoms, composed of governmental and/or religious powers. Babylon was the beast power, not Nebuchadnezzar. The Grecian empire was the beast power, not Alexander. Likewise, Rome was the beast power, not the Caesars. The first beast of Rev 13 is a political power/kingdom, while the second beast is a religious power/kingdom.
Zech 14:5 – The Jews flee through the valley to avoid the fighting between the Lord and the clans of Judah against Israel’s invaders. Christ opens a way for the people to escape while He and the clans subdue His & their enemies. Here is an interesting passage from Isaiah:
- “Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. For behold, the LORD is about to come out from His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; And the earth will reveal her bloodshed And will no longer cover her slain” (Isa 26:20-21 NASB). Isaiah is prophesying the same time and events-The Day of the Lord. This would be a good place to pause and read Joel chapter 2.
- “So the dragon was enraged with the woman, [Israel] and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (Re 12:17 NASB).
At the middle of the Tribulation, three and one-half years before Christ intervenes, the remnant, the faithful in Christ during the first half of the Tribulation, will be given a place of refuge from the one we call antichrist [probably Petra] – at His coming, the mountain will split to provide an escape and place of refuge for those who came to Christ during the Tribulation and survived:
- “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.” And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth” (Re 12:12-16 NASB).
- Pay attention to the symbolic language. Devil, dragon and serpent are the same; woman is Israel; child is Jesus; The great eagle and two wings are God and His protection; fly is to go swiftly; water and flood is the military power of the serpent; earth opening its mouth is obviously an earthquake as in the Genesis wilderness when the earth opened and swallowed Moses’ opposition. These are some of many types of images throughout the Scriptures.
But first – on Christ way to the mount of Olives He comes through Edom by way of Bozrah (Isa 63) to rescue the remnant who had escaped the last half of the Tribulation. From there, He goes down the Jordan valley and then up to the mount of Olives:
- “1Who is this who comes from Edom, With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, This One who is majestic in His apparel, Marching in the greatness of His strength? “It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” 2Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press? “3I have trodden the wine trough *alone, And from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger And trampled them in My wrath; And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, And I stained all My raiment. “4For the day of vengeance was in My heart, And My year of redemption [Isa 61:2] has come. “5I looked, and there was no one to help, And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; So My own arm brought salvation to Me, And My wrath upheld Me. “6I trod down the peoples in My anger And made them drunk in My wrath, And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth” (Isa 63:1-6 NASB).
- *“alone; and of the people there was none with me.” The people are the nations, not the Jews. He rescues the remnant, and their clans battle alongside of Him. But none of the nations will join with Him in the battle to rescue the Jews. Zechariah 12:6, “On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.” (NIV– the KJV says “governors,” Strong’s H441 – which is intended to mean the leaders of the clans).
Context – First, Christ comes to Edom to rescue the remnant who fled from the beast power at the midpoint of the Tribulation. Da 11:41 tells us that, “He [the beast] shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon [Jordan and Arabia].” God has reserved this territory – which includes Petra – for the remnant who escape at the midpoint of the Tribulation. When He arrives at the mount of Olives and touches down, it cleaves all the way to Azal providing a way of escape for those who recognize Him as Messiah and King of Israel whom we will see in upcoming verses.
As you read Scripture, notice how it keep repeating itself. God is going for rote memory, drilling truth into Israel’s “stony heart.” He tells Israel over and over and over again exactly what He is doing, how they are disobeying, how discipline will come, and how He will redeem the “faithful.” In Leviticus 26:14-26 is listed five cycles of discipline Israel will endure because of their repeated infidelity.
And the beat goes on . . ..
Exploring Scripture~because it matters-it really does!