Zechariah 14

Zechariah 14 is big, bold, and audacious no matter which way you view it. Its imagery is grand and horrific. It’s climatic and action packed from start to finish. Few individual chapters deserve their own page, but we haven’t covered Zechariah 14 and it is a major prophecy event for both futurists and preterists.

I was going to just do a heading in the dictionary for Zechariah 14, but it would be so long I decided just to give it its own page. I don’t really need to view it from each of the models individually just looking at it from a futurist and Preterist view is sufficient.

Given that Zechariah 14 merited its own page I think it merits its own theme music as well. To do this riveting and bold passage justice it needs to be something that can convey a large canvas with exciting flourishes accenting the storyline. I first thought the throne room scene music from Star Wars would fit the bill nicely with its grand fanfares; however, it can be so overpowering at times it might take away from the reader’s ability to concentrate so I kept looking. A good fit that conveys a sense of grandeur on a large scale with those flourishes accenting the intricate details is done quite nicely by the theme to the Virginian. It sets the mood for grand series of events interwoven with intrigue, fascinating details, and a satisfying finish.

http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/5/17/2445007/TheVirginian%20.mp3″

Since we have often given the futurist view followed by the Preterist I’ll switch them up here and present the Preterist first this time. Since most futurist models would take the same or similar views on interpreting this chapter I’ll combine them into one futurist interpretation for our purposes here.

    Preterist View

I’ll work from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

V. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle.

This interpreted as meaning the nations  comprised in the Roman Armies which converged on Jerusalem in 70AD by preterists.

V. 3 The Lord will go out and fight against those nations.

Since this obviously states that the Lord will go out and fight against those nations how do preterists not think the Lord is siding with Israel against the nations attacking her. The Hebrew Interlinear translation (see it at scripture4all.org) words this as “he fights in nations” which most translations interpret as fight against those nations, but some translations will interpret this as “fights with those nations.” This is the way the Darby translation interprets it. That forces one to interpret how to interpret “with.” And it can mean different things.

You could say the U.S. fought with Germany in World War II meaning we were enemies.
You could say the U.S. fought with Great Britain in WWII meaning we were allies.
You could say the U.S. fought with tanks and planes in WWII meaning they were tools used in the course of fighting.

Thus with those nations could mean the Lord fought with those nations as his tools to punish Jerusalem or that he sided with those nations against Israel to punish Israel as when he brought Babylon against Israel to punish her for her transgressions. Preterists think this verse means the Lord either used the nations as tools or sided with them to punish Israel in 70 AD.

V. 4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.

Preterists think this was fulfilled when the 10th Legion camped on the Mount of Olives and trenched there thus splitting the Mount of Olives in two so to speak. The 10th also launched stones from catapults from there which also fulfilled other prophecies according to Preterists.

V. 5 …Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

This is interpreted to mean the presence of God is there like it does in other similar bible verses where God shows up with heavenly hosts. No one ever sees God and those heavenly hosts in those examples its just a Jewish expression for the presence of God. Other examples are found in Deut 33:2, Psalm 68:7, 1 Thel 3:13 among other places.

V. 6 – 7
On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost.  And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light.

It being a unique day is a day that the Lord does something unusual that goes against his normal pattern. The unique event here is that he is fighting against his chosen people—Israel. Usually he would defend his chosen people, but here he is doing something unique—punishing them—fighting against them.

V. 12
And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.

Most translations word this to say strikes people who are fighting against Jerusalem, but preterists see it differently. Here again it is necessary to consult the Hebrew Interlinear translation. It reads “all the people which they muster on Jerusalem”  Preterists see the word “on” here meaning those standing on Jerusalem not those warring against Jerusalem. In Strong’s concordance this word is Hebrew number #5921 which means against as in upon, above, over, especially exerting downward pressure on something. Thus preterists see it reinforcing the Hebrew Interlinear to mean those standing on Jerusalem (the Jewish people inhabiting Jerusalem) are the ones who will have the plague fall on them. The description of rotting flesh is seen as an accurate description of the starvation going on in Jerusalem while it was under siege.

V. 13
And on that day a great panic from the LORD shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other.

Preterists see this as a very accurate description of the Jewish historian Josephus describing how the Jewish people fought with one another during the siege by the Romans. He describes in explicit detail how they killed one another in horrific fashion.

V. 16
Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths

The celebration of the Booths is the last of the yearly Jewish celebrations which Preterists perceive as someone living under the law trying to describe the final victory of Christ. This is the celebration that comes at the end or at the arrival of the New Covenant.

    Futurist View

I’ll work from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

V. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle.

This is interpreted as meaning all the nations of the earth by most futurists. The U.S. would be included in this group or it would otherwise already be disposed of or reduced in statue so much that it is basically irrelevant to world events.

Some futurists believe the term “the nations” is where the United States is to be found in bible prophecy—it is simply viewed as being among the many gentile nations which attack Israel.

V. 3 The Lord will go out and fight against those nations…

This means God will come to the aid of Jerusalem to smite all the nations.

V. 4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.

This is an important verse to futurists. It will be fulfilled when the skies roll back and Christ descends from heaven to earth and touches down on The Mount of Olives splitting it into. Some futurists believe by splitting the Mount Jesus has created a passage way for the people of Jerusalem to safety.

V. 5 …Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

This is believed to refer to heavenly hoss who appear in the sky with Jesus and could be either angels or the saints who have died previously and those raptured earlier or both angels and saints.

V. 6 – 7
On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost.  And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light.

Amazing cosmic events take place. These could be simply lack of sunshine or created by cosmic upheaval as the earth, sun, and possibly other heavenly bodies do unusual things.

V. 12
And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.

Futurists often interpret this as modern weapons of mass destruction coming down on those who are attacking Jerusalem such as thermonuclear weapons or biological warfare. Or possible the simple wrath of the Lord coming down on them and destroying them where they stand.

V. 13
And on that day a great panic from the LORD shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other.

Panic sets in among those armies attacking Jerusalem and they turn on each other.

V. 16
Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths.

Since this is in the future by definition since it is in the futuristic view this return to keeping the Feast of Booths indicates the third Temple has been rebuilt and obviously Old Covenant customs have been reinstituted.

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