Zechariah 14 Commentary


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Chart from recommended resource Jensen's Survey of the OT - used by permission
Zechariah Chart from Charles Swindoll
Another Zechariah Chart

ZECHARIAH
("Yahweh Remembers")
Click for EXCELLENT TIMELINE of Zechariah - Go to Page 43
Other Timelines on Zechariah
Zec 1:1-6 Zec 1:7-6:8 Zec 6:9-6:15 Zec 7:1-8:23 Zec 9:1-11:17 Zec 12:1-14:21
Return
to Me
Zec 1:3
Messianic
Kingdom
Visions
The
Branch
Four
Messages
Two Oracles
or
Burdens
Zechariah 1-6

Zechariah 7-8

Zechariah 9-14


Apocalyptic

Ethical Prophecy

1) Rebuke
2) Reminder
3) Restoration
4) Return

Predictive Prophecy

1) Burden Against the Nations
2) Burden For Israel

Call
to
Repentance
Eight
Visions

(Picture)
Crowning
of
Joshua
Question of
the Fasts
First
Burden:
Rejection of
Messiah
Second
Burden:
Reign of
Messiah
The
Way
of Salvation
Messianic
Kingdom
Visions
The
Bringer
of Salvation
Commands
Concerning
Present Things
Oracles (Burdens)
Concerning
Future Things
Behold the man...the Branch Love, Truth
and Peace
The Day
of the Lord
PICTURES PROBLEMS PREDICTIONS
ISRAEL'S
FORTUNE
ISRAEL'S
FASTING
ISRAEL'S
FUTURE
"My house will be built
in Jerusalem
"

Zec 1:16
"Let your hands be strong"
Zec 8:9
"HOLY
TO THE LORD
"

Zec 14:20
PLACE:
JERUSALEM
Written During the Building
of the Temple

520-518BC
Written after the Temple
Was Completed

circa 480-470BC

Zechariah 14:1   Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you.

  • Isa 2:12 13:6,9 Joe 2:31 3:14 Mal 4:5 Acts 2:20 Rev 16:14 

THE DAY OF THE LORD 
IS IMMINENT

Let me repeat a note from the introduction to Zechariah 12-14 - Even Martin Luther who penned two commentaries on Zechariah published his first one in 1526 and stopped at the end of Zechariah 13 without explanation! Luther's second commentary on Zechariah was written one year after his first but still had minimal explanation of Zechariah 14. In fact in the second commentary Luther wrote these words regarding Zechariah 14 "Here, in this chapter, I give up. For I am not sure what the prophet is talking about." (from "Lectures on Zechariah" 1527). In fact someone has written that there are at least seven different interpretations of Zechariah 14! Of course, there is only one correct interpretation. As you read it, let me encourage you to read  the text literally, lest you be carried away by a vivid imagination and come up with a "fifteenth" interpretation, and end up totally missing the glory and grandeur of this majestic chapter which underscores the Greatness and Glory of our God IN THAT DAY!

To help understand Zechariah 14 keep two basic points in mind as you read and study:

(1) Every use of the term "day," mentioned 12 times in 11 verses, refers to a time which can be placed under the more general, all-inclusive term the Day of the LORD, which is not itself a single day but a period of time which encompasses a number of events that span two "ages."  And so the day in essence spans two general time periods or ages which can be characterized in several ways:

  1. The end of this present age and the beginning of the next age (Messianic age)
  2. The end of the kingdom of man and the beginning of the Kingdom of God
  3. The end of the old world order and beginning of a new world order
  4. The end of the old age and beginning of the new age.
  5. The end of Satan's dominion over earth and the beginning of Christ's dominion over the earth. 
  6. The end of the era of godlessness and beginning of the era of holiness.

(2) In Zechariah 14 the prophet skips back and forth between events in these two ages and unless you realize this, this chapter can be confusing, when it is actually relatively straightforward. Stated another way, Zechariah 14 shifts between events in a day of war (7 verses) to the events in a day of peace (12 verses) as shown below...

  1. Day of war - Zechariah 14:1-3 and Zechariah 14:12-15. Zechariah 14:4,5 describes a time that marks the beginning of the end of war and the beginning of peace (as shown by the topographical changes that will extend into the new age).
  2. Day of peace - Zechariah 14:6-11, Zechariah 14:16-21

Charles Feinberg - The final chapter of this important prophetic book opens, as did  Zech 12, with the last invasion of Jerusalem by the nations of the earth. The time setting in both chapters is the same. Some have claimed that this chapter surpasses all the others in Zechariah in obscurity, and have thought the passage defies historical explanation. On the other hand, the prophecy has been assigned to the invasion of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC or to the siege of the city by Titus in 70 AD with his Roman legions. Suffice it to say, every feature of this invasion differentiates it from the two just mentioned. We have before us the depiction of the War of Armageddon. It is a day peculiarly the Lord’s when Jerusalem’s spoil will be divided in the midst of the capital. The day is so designated because in it God means to vindicate His justice and destroy the wicked. It is the day of the Lord as in prophecies of Joel, Zephaniah, Malachi, and elsewhere. (The Minor Prophets)

Feinberg in his exegetical work on Zechariah adds "The last three verses of chapter 13 (Zec 13:7-9) are amplified in this chapter. The beginning of the chapter takes us back to the time indicated in the first part of Zec 12. It is customary with the prophets to give a general statement and then expand the theme later by the addition of details. From other Scriptures we know that before the events outlined in this passage take place, the nation Israel is regathered to the land in unbelief and has made a covenant with the false Messiah, the foolish shepherd of Zec 11:15–17. Few chapters, if any, in the Scriptures are of greater eschatological significance than the chapter before us, and few passages reveal more clearly the vast difference between the literal interpretation of prophecy and the figurative or spiritualizing. Lowe is prepared to confess: “We almost agree with De Wette that this chapter defies all historical explanation…. We are compelled therefore to interpret the chapter wholly in a figurative and Messianic sense.” Hengstenberg, interpreting the chapter by the same method, refers its events not “exclusively to the termination of the Church’s history, but to the whole of the Messianic era from its commencement till its close.” Wright (in loco) understands the chapter to be an ideal description of the last things, that is, of the Jewish dispensation. When the passage is interpreted in the literal sense, it harmonizes with all that Zechariah has revealed thus far and with the prophecies concerning the consummation for Israel found throughout the Scriptures. (The Great Consummation: Israel’s Deliverance and God’s Earthly Kingdom, 14:1-21)

George Klein introduces this great eschatological chapter writing "Zechariah 14 serves as the climax to the entire book by drawing together themes woven throughout the previous 13 chapters. These motifs include the return of fertility like that in paradise (cf. Zech 8:12 with Zech 14:6–8); the prosperous city of Jerusalem living securely without walls (cf. Zech 2:9; 9:8 with Zech 14:11); the curse going out over all of the land and the ban removed (cf. Zech 5:3 with Zech 14:11); God’s judgment on the nations (cf. Zech 2:1–4, 12–13; Zech 9:1–8; Zech 10:11; Zech 12:4 with Zech 14:12–15); the alteration of worship practices (cf. Zech 8:18–23 with Zech 14:20); and the nations coming to Jerusalem to worship (cf. Zech 2:11; Zech 8:20–23 with Zech 14:16). More broadly, Zech 14 makes extensive use of earlier biblical texts, applying and sometimes broadening the focus of these passages in presenting the eschatological message." (New American Commentary - Zechariah).

Eugene Merrill - The second great oracle and the entire prophecy of Zechariah end on the grand and glorious note of the sovereignty of YHWH and the establishment of His universal and eternal kingdom. The cosmic, eschatological sweep of this last portion, nine times punctuated by the phrase “in that day” or the like, is almost without compare in the prophetic literature of the OT for the richness of its imagery, the authority of its pronouncements, and the majestic exaltation of the God of Israel who will be worshiped as the God of all the earth. The pivotal concern of the passage is to show that YHWH comes on their behalf in order to complete at long last all the purposes for which He had elected, redeemed, and preserved them. It is, in fact, as YHWH proves true to His covenant word to Israel that He most effectively and dramatically evinces His glory. When Israel has finally fulfilled her covenant mandate as a kingdom of priests, drawing the nations of earth redemptively to YHWH her God, then, and only then, will her mission and the course of human history simultaneously come to an end. Then and only then will YHWH be all in all. This is the organizing principle of Zechariah’s climactic word, the summation of all that has gone before. (Exegetical Commentary-Zechariah)

Behold - Indeed, what a glorious chapter to behold! But there is a bad start to a glorious chapter! The NLT says "Watch, for the day of the LORD is coming when your possessions will be plundered right in front of you!" Sadly, some modern translations (NIV, NET) ignore the Hebrew word for behold. 

Behold (02009)(hinneh) is an interjection meaning behold, look, now; if. "It is used often and expresses strong feelings, surprise, hope, expectation, certainty, thus giving vividness depending on its surrounding context." (Baker) Hinneh generally directs our mind to the text, imploring the reader to give it special attention. In short, the Spirit is trying to arrest our attention! Spurgeon reminds us that "Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation." I would add, behold is like a divine highlighter, a divine underlining of an especially striking or important text. It says in effect "Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehovah!"

Behold calls attention to future calamity which is fascinating as the immediate preceding context prophesied consolation and Zechariah 12:3 has stated " I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock." (NLT) Clearly, God is emphasizing that judgment of His Chosen People and their Holy City would precede deliverance. The prophet Daniel had predicted this writing

"Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off (CRUCIFIED) and have nothing, and the people (ROMANS) of the prince (ANTICHRIST) who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary (AS ROMAN GENERAL TITUS DID IN 70 A D). And its (THE CITY'S) end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war (WHICH IS WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN JERUSALEM OVER THE LAST 2000 YEARS); desolations (shamen/samen) are determined." (Da 9:26-note)

Comment: Israel has experienced a steady stream of desolations that began with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, including the Medieval Crusades (tragically many of these were more like "mid-evil" for they frequently persecuted Jews and challenged them at sword point to convert or die! - Click article on Anti-Semitism and scroll down to "Crusades"), the Spanish Inquisition, the Russian pogroms, Hitler's demonic Nazi holocaust. (And yet the rise of the Antichrist will commence a Satanically inspired and empowered holocaust beyond any that Israel has previously experienced. See Re 12:13-note, Re 12:14-note, Re 12:15-note, Re 12:16-note, Re 12:17-note where the woman is clearly Israel). The final desolation by the Antichrist is soberly foreshadowed by the first Roman "holocaust" in 70AD.

Klein - Baldwin perceptively comments that God’s people typically believe themselves to be undeserving of judgment, although they always did deserve it. Judgment from the Lord begins with the people of God (Ezek 9:6; 1 Pet 4:17-note). Even the unparalleled judgment on God’s own people foretold by chap. 14 is not unique to Zechariah’s teaching. Several of the most notable passages predicting a catastrophic judgment on Zion and environs include Isa 2:12-note; Isaiah 4:1-note; Joel 2:1–2-note; and Mal 4:1–5-note. Verse 1 overviews the sad story of the nations plundering Jerusalem; v. 2 presents yet more detail. (NAC)

day is coming for the LORD - This "day" will occur under the "umbrella" term (more all inclusive term) of the "Day of the LORD" which in itself is not SINGLE day but a period composed of days that include a number of last days events such as that described in  this day in Zech 14:1ff.

Klein observes that is coming "is a participle that communicates imminent action."

The Septuagint uses the present tense for coming, the idea being it is on its way. Of course 2000 years have passed and it is still "coming," but Peter looks at this timing from God's perspective writing "do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day." (2 Peter 3:8-note) Moses adds that to God "a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night." (Ps 90:4)

Joel foretold of this threat to Israel in a coming day..

Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, and it will come as destruction from the Almighty.  (Joel 1:15-note

MacArthur -  Later in the book (Joel 2:18ff.; 3:1, 18–21), the Day of the Lord (the occasion when God pours out His wrath on man) results in blessing and exoneration for God’s people and judgment toward Gentiles (Isa 13:6; Eze 30:3), but here Joel directs the warning toward his own people. The Day of the Lord is speedily approaching; unless sinners repent, dire consequences await them. (Study Bible)

When the spoil taken from you will be divided among you - The NET Bible says "A day of the LORD is about to come when your possessions will be divided as plunder in your midst." You is Israel and to have spoil taken from Israel signifies she has been defeated in battle.

Feinberg - The spoil, contrary to usual practice, is leisurely divided in the midst of the city, showing how completely she will be overthrown and how secure her enemies will feel in their victory over her. This is indeed the severest and most devastating of all Jerusalem’s sieges. Evidently the last great attack against Jerusalem on the part of the allied nations will issue in an initial success. We concur in B. W. Newton’s observation: “As far as I am aware, this first verse of Zechariah xiv is the only place in Scripture in which this last triumph of the Gentiles over Jerusalem is described.” Other Scriptures dwell on the final stage of the battle when the Gentiles are defeated. (The Great Consummation: Israel’s Deliverance and God’s Earthly Kingdom, 14:1-21)

Feinberg - Oriental armies carried large amounts of gold and silver with them on their march (2 Ch 20:25). Apparel is often mentioned in lists of spoil, because it was an important item of wealth in the East. (Note Judg 5:30 and 2 Ki 7:15.) (The Minor Prophets)

Spoil (07998)(shalal) is a masculine noun which means spoils, plunder, booty, all referring to what is taken by force or violence usually in the context of war and taking spoils was sometimes one of the principle motivations for going to war. Military raids were sometimes ill-disguised plundering expeditions, such as the ill-fated Amalekite raid against Ziklag described in 1 Samuel 30:16, 19, 20, 22, 26. Sometimes shalal was seized as an act of political aggression (Esther 3:13; 8:11). Taking plunder or spoil was an act of aggression by the wicked on the weak or righteous (Pr 1:13).  

Twice Zechariah uses shalal noting that the Lord will make the nations plunder Israel  (Zech. 2:9; 14:1). The word sometimes holds out hope for Israel, such as Jeremiah’s promise that Babylon will be “plundered” (Jer 50:10). Tragically, Judah often found herself in the role of the one being plundered by a marauding nation (Ezek 7:21; 29:19). In the same way, Zech 14:1 tells the tragic story of that future day in which Jerusalem will become the spoil for the Gentile nations.

Herman Austel - God permitted Israel to take spoil in most battles (Deut. 20:14). This consisted of women, children, cattle and valuable goods. That a portion at least of the spoil was commonly dedicated to the Lord and used in connection with the tabernacle or temple service is evident from 2 Samuel 8:12 and especially 1 Chron. 26:27, in which David is said to dedicate part of the spoils of victory to the Lord. There were some occasions when the taking of spoil was not permitted, such as on the victory over Jericho or when an idolatrous Israelite city was to be destroyed (Deut. 13:17). Similarly when Saul was sent to exterminate the Amalekites, no spoil was to be taken (1 Samuel 15). The Scripture is very clear that the downfall and spoiling of cities is not an accident of military or political history, but that here also God is in sovereign control. Thus Jerusalem is given into the hands of foreigners (Ezekiel 7:21), and in Isaiah 10:6 God sends the Assyrian armies as his instruments of judgment to take spoil. That God will not allow the nations to plunder his people forever is clear from Zech. 2:8 [H 12] and Habakkuk 2:8, and in Jeremiah 50:10 it is Babylon's turn to be despoiled. The tables are turned also on Gog in Ezekiel 39:10. Ill-gotten gain is called spoil in Proverbs 1:13, and in Isaiah 10:2 a corrupt administration takes advantage of those who are defenseless, and makes widows their spoil. The great joy and the exuberant celebrations attendant on the division of spoils (cf. 1 Samuel 30:16) becomes a point of comparison with the joy of an Israel finally freed from the yoke of oppression in Isaiah 9:3. The Psalmist (Psalm 119:162) rejoices over the treasure of God's word as others rejoice over spoil. The division of spoil is used as a symbol of the fulfilled triumph of Jesus the Messiah (Isaiah 53:12). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Gilbrant - "Booty" is the wealth of a person which is seized by another. In the Hebrew Bible, the only context in which this act is allowed is in the context of war. Booty was the main compensation for most soldiers in armies throughout history. There are categories of types of property which are mentioned as booty. Persons were acceptable booty (Dt. 20:14; 2 Chr. 28:8; Jer. 45:5, 50:10; Zech. 2:9). Livestock and clothing were common types of booty (Jdg. 5:30; 1 Sam. 14:32; Jer. 49:32). The rest of the objects of booty are covered under the nebulous rubric, "the booty of the city" (Josh. 8:2). Booty probably consisted of any moveable property which the individual could carry. An extension of the concept is found in Pr 31:11, in one of the proverbs of Lemuel. In the section devoted to the ideal wife, he asserts that such a woman will work continually and produce wealth for the household. Indeed, the husband will have no lack of shālāl on account of her. The noun is translated as "gain." The wealth referred to as being accumulated by this woman is not wealth that the husband earns, and thus, he has access to wealth which he did not create (cf. the usage of the verb in Ruth 2:16). That is not to say that the wealth she creates is hers, as all wealth produced in the estate of her husband would have been his in this culture. (The Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary )

Shalal - 74x in 65v - booty(11), gain(1), plunder(3), possessions(1), spoil(57), spoiler(1).

Ge 49:27; Ex 15:9; Nu 31:11-12; Deut. 2:35; Deut. 3:7; Deut. 13:16; Deut. 20:14; Jos. 7:21; Jos. 8:2; Jos. 8:27; Jos. 11:14; Jos. 22:8; Jdg. 5:30; Jdg. 8:24; Jdg. 8:25; 1 Sam. 14:30; 1 Sam. 14:32; 1 Sam. 15:19; 1 Sam. 15:21; 1 Sam. 30:16; 1 Sam. 30:19; 1 Sam. 30:20; 1 Sam. 30:22; 1 Sam. 30:26; 2 Sam. 3:22; 2 Sam. 8:12; 2 Sam. 12:30; 2 Ki. 3:23; 1 Chr. 20:2; 1 Chr. 26:27; 2 Chr. 14:13; 2 Chr. 15:11; 2 Chr. 20:25; 2 Chr. 24:23; 2 Chr. 28:8; 2 Chr. 28:15; Est. 3:13; Est. 8:11; Ps. 68:12; Ps. 119:162; Prov. 1:13; Prov. 16:19; Prov. 31:11; Isa. 8:1; Isa. 8:4; Isa. 9:3; Isa. 10:2; Isa. 10:6; Isa. 33:4; Isa. 33:23; Isa. 53:12; Jer. 21:9; Jer. 38:2; Jer. 39:18; Jer. 45:5; Jer. 49:32; Jer. 50:10; Ezek. 7:21; Ezek. 29:19; Ezek. 38:12; Ezek. 38:13; Dan. 11:24; Zech. 2:9; Zech. 14:1

NET Note on day - The eschatological Day of the Lord described here (and through Zech 14:8) is considered by many interpreters to refer to the period known as the Great Tribulation, a seven year time of great suffering by God’s (Jewish) people culminating in the establishing of the millennial reign of the LORD (Zech 14:9–21). For other OT and NT references to this aspect of the day of the LORD see Amos 9:8–15; Joel 1:15–2:11; Isa 1:24–31; 2:2–4; 4:2–6; 26:16–27:6; 33:13–24; 59:1–60:22; 65:13–25; Jer 30:7–11; 32:36–44; Ezek 20:33–44; Dan 11:40; 12:1; Matt 24:21, 29; 25:31–46; Rev 19:11–16.

Jon Courson The day of the Lord is the time when the Lord intervenes directly, physically, obviously in human history. In Hebrew culture, the day begins with the setting rather than with the rising of the sun. Therefore, although the day of the Lord begins in the darkness of the Tribulation, it ends in the glorious brightness of Jesus' Second Coming. (Jon Courson's Application Commentary)

Zechariah 14:2  For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.

  • I will gather all the nations: De 28:9-14 Isa 5:26 Jer 34:1 Da 2:40-43 Joe 3:2 Mt 22:7 Lu 2:1 
  • the city will be captured: Mt 23:37,38 24:15,16 Mk 13:14,19 Lu 19:43,44 21:20-24 
  • the houses plundered: Isa 13:16 La 1:10 5:11,12 Am 7:17 Mt 24:19-21 
  • the rest of the people: Lu 21:24 
  • will not be cut off from the city: Zec 13:8,9 Isa 65:6-9,18 Mt 24:22 Ro 9:27-29 Ga 4:26,27 

Zec 14:2 NLT I will gather all the nations to fight against Jerusalem. The city will be taken, the houses looted, and the women raped. Half the population will be taken into captivity, and the rest will be left among the ruins of the city.

THE LAST SIEGE OF 
JERUSALEM

For - This term of explanation explains how Israel's defeat in Zechariah 14:1 will come about. Notice that God is now speaking directly whereas verse 1 was indirect.

If you noticed the title of this section, it is not entirely accurate. Zechariah describes the last siege of the Holy City in this present age, but John describes a final siege at the end of the 1000 year Messianic Age in Rev 20 writing that...

When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city (JERUSALEM), and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-13-note)

So perhaps a more accurate title of Zechariah 14:1 would be the "Final Defeat of Jerusalem," for the battle in Revelation 20 will be as they say "no contest!" Jesus wins forever! Satan loses forever! Evil once and for all time and eternity is obliterated from existence! Hallelujah!

The ESV Study Bible says this verse "predicts a future time that is not specified in Zechariah." Well, perhaps not a specific date or hour, but definitely in the context of the return of the Messiah as noted in the next passage. So the "time" is on that day, the Day of the Lord, the Lord's perfect timing when He finally intervenes to put an end to the godlessness and Anti-Semitism that has infected the world for millennia. 

I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem (which is ironic as it means "City of Peace"!) to battle - "I will gather" clearly indicates that it is the sovereign God of the universe Who does the gathering, undoubtedly in a way similar to that described in Proverbs 21:1 "The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes." As one has said "History" is "HIS-STORY!" Passages like this at first glance can seem confusing but we must remember that God is not the Author of evil and as James 1 says "God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust." (James 1:13-14) And we must also remember God has a sovereign purpose for His Chosen People, even as described by Joseph who declared " “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive." (Ge 50:20) And indeed, when the smoke clears from the battle, Israel (and all believers) will see that God's purpose was "to preserve many people alive," that they might enter into the glorious Kingdom of Messiah described in Zechariah 14:9-21). 

The place of gathering is described by John

And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; 14for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. 15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”) 16 And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon. (Revelation 16:13-16-note)

Comment: This description is most accurately termed the Campaign of Armageddon which will be waged against God and His people and will be brought to an abrupt termination when the King o kings returns (Rev 19:11-16-note) and defeats all of His and Israel's enemies (Rev 19:17-21-note). See also Arnold Fruchtenbaum's proposed sequence (this is only a suggested sequence).

All the nations - see similar passages Ezek 38:1-23; Joel 3:1–3; Mic 4:11–13. This phrase does not mean all physically will be gathered, but is a figure of speech (hyperbole), but indicates anti-Semitism is global and the forces of the enemy are great (undoubtedly numerically greatly out numbering the forces of tiny Israel, just as was the case when Israel declared her statehood May 14, 1948 (see description of these incredible events). In this gloomy future day for the nation of Israel, her extremity would be God's opportunity, which of course would make it obvious to the Jews "from whence came their help" (cf Ps 121:1-2, 124:1). 

Feinberg on on the nations - This is the universal confederacy of the armies of the nations described in Psalm 2 ("The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed" - Ps 2:2), Joel 3 ("I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel,- Joel 3:2), Ezekiel 38-note and Ezekiel 39-note, Revelation 16 and 19. (The Great Consummation: Israel’s Deliverance and God’s Earthly Kingdom, 14:1-21)

Against Jerusalem - God's judgment here is supernaturally transformed into God's blessing in Zechariah 14:9-11, 16-21.

And the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished - The city of course is Jerusalem (listen to Yerushalayim), the Holy city of God, the future dwelling place of the King of kings. But now it lies in the hand of the enemy. 

Klein - The eschatological armies will triumph over Jerusalem and will utterly devastate every home by stealing its food and all other contents that possess any monetary value. The violation of the vanquished female inhabitants also follows in a line of abusive behavior that goes back millennia. The rapacity of soldiers who wield total control over the populace but exercise limited control over their behavior has often led to wide scale sexual abuse. Zechariah warned that in the final battle in the end times, the women of Zion would not escape this brutal indignity.  (NAC)

And half of the city exiled - The place of exile is not stated.

But the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city - NLT paraphrases it "the rest will be left among the ruins of the city." Therefore in the midst of devastation and ruin, God gives a ray of hope describing this remnant of the Jewish populace which will not be taken away from Jerusalem but which remain in the city. The fact that the next verse describes the Lord's intervention adds support that this remnant has reason to hope. See also the study of the doctrine of the remnant.

Cut off is the verb karath which suggests a severe stroke. The Septuagint uses the verb exolothreuo which means to utterly destroy. The implication is that those not part of the rest of people will be dealt with in a severe manner (this of course is implied also by the verbs captured...plundered...ravished).

Rest (03499)(yether from yathar = to remain over) means "remainder, the rest, abundance, excellence, a cord. The word refers to that which is left over: the produce of a field not used by people (and left for beasts) (Ex. 23:11); the years of a life span not yet finished (Isa. 38:10); temple vessels besides the ones specifically mentioned (Jer. 27:19). The word also signifies abundance as what was left beyond the necessities of life (Job 22:20; Ps. 17:14). In Genesis 49:3, the word means excellence, referring to the extra honor and power accorded to the firstborn. The word may refer to the cord of a tent or to a bowstring (Job 30:11; Ps. 11:2), both apparently derived from the idea of a string hanging over something, being extra. The word may be used adverbially to mean abundantly or exceedingly (Dan. 8:9)." (Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament)

Yether is a masculine noun that means "remainder" or "excess." Exodus 10:5 states that the Egyptians will suffer a plague of locusts which will consume the "remaining" food spared from the devastating hailstorm. Ex 23:11 commands the Israelites to allow the land to remain idle  in the seventh year. The poor were to be allowed to eat of the land idled and of what they leave ("residue"), the beasts of the field could eat. Leviticus 14:17 instructs the priest to take of the rest ("residue") of the oil poured into his left hand and put it on the right ear, the thumb of the right hand and the big toe of the right foot of the person declared cured of leprosy. 1 Kings 11:41 tells that the "rest" of the deeds of Solomon are recorded in the "book of the acts of Solomon." 2 Kings 24:5 says that the "rest" of Jehoiakim's deeds are recorded in the "book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah." (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Yether - 98x in 89v - abundance(2), exceedingly(1), excellent(1), fully*(1), leave(1), left(3), more*(1), preeminent(2), remainder(5), remained*(1), remaining(1), remnant(5), rest(71), what(3).

Gen. 49:3; Exod. 10:5; Exod. 23:11; Lev. 14:17; Num. 31:32; Deut. 3:11; Deut. 3:13; Deut. 28:54; Jos. 12:4; Jos. 13:12; Jos. 13:27; Jos. 23:12; Jdg. 7:6; 1 Sam. 13:2; 2 Sam. 10:10; 2 Sam. 12:28; 2 Sam. 21:2; 1 Ki. 11:41; 1 Ki. 12:23; 1 Ki. 14:19; 1 Ki. 14:29; 1 Ki. 15:7; 1 Ki. 15:23; 1 Ki. 15:31; 1 Ki. 16:5; 1 Ki. 16:14; 1 Ki. 16:20; 1 Ki. 16:27; 1 Ki. 22:39; 1 Ki. 22:45; 1 Ki. 22:46; 2 Ki. 1:18; 2 Ki. 8:23; 2 Ki. 10:34; 2 Ki. 12:19; 2 Ki. 13:8; 2 Ki. 13:12; 2 Ki. 14:15; 2 Ki. 14:18; 2 Ki. 14:28; 2 Ki. 15:6; 2 Ki. 15:11; 2 Ki. 15:15; 2 Ki. 15:21; 2 Ki. 15:26; 2 Ki. 15:31; 2 Ki. 15:36; 2 Ki. 16:19; 2 Ki. 20:20; 2 Ki. 21:17; 2 Ki. 21:25; 2 Ki. 23:28; 2 Ki. 24:5; 2 Ki. 25:11; 1 Chr. 19:11; 2 Chr. 13:22; 2 Chr. 20:34; 2 Chr. 25:26; 2 Chr. 26:22; 2 Chr. 27:7; 2 Chr. 28:26; 2 Chr. 32:32; 2 Chr. 33:18; 2 Chr. 35:26; 2 Chr. 36:8; Neh. 2:16; Neh. 4:14; Neh. 4:19; Neh. 6:1; Neh. 6:14; Job 22:20; Ps. 17:14; Ps. 31:23; Prov. 17:7; Isa. 38:10; Isa. 44:19; Isa. 56:12; Jer. 27:19; Jer. 29:1; Jer. 39:9; Jer. 52:15; Ezek. 34:18; Ezek. 48:23; Dan. 8:9; Joel 1:4; Mic. 5:3; Hab. 2:8; Zeph. 2:9; Zech. 14:2

Feinberg - The prophecy has been understood by some of the Church Fathers to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. This cannot be the overthrow of the city by Titus, because he was not at the head of all nations, nor did he leave half of the population. Too, the passage cannot be speaking of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem, because the greater part of the people were exiled and later the remnant suffered the same treatment. Compare 2 Kings 25:11. Half of the population will go into captivity, but the other half will constitute the remnant. To the literal interpretation of this prophecy it has been objected that it would be a physical impossibility for all nations to assemble in battle against Jerusalem. Newton correctly states: “It should also be observed that when nations are described as being gathered as nations, it is not meant that every individual comes, but they who are governmentally and executively the constituted representatives of their power.” (The Great Consummation: Israel’s Deliverance and God’s Earthly Kingdom, 14:1-21)

Zechariah 14:3  Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle.

  • Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations Zec 2:8,9 10:4,5 12:2-6,9 Isa 63:1-6 66:15,16 Da 2:34,35,44,45 Joel 3:2,9-17 Zep 3:19 Hag 2:21,22 Rev 6:4-17 8:7-13 
  • as when He fights on a day of battle: Ex 15:1-6 Jos 10:42 2 Ch 20:15 

A CRUCIAL TIME PHRASE "THEN"
AT THE END OF THIS AGE

Then (at that time; at the time in question, at that point in time, at that moment, on that occasion) - Always pay close attention to this "time sensitive" conjunction, especially in passages like this which are clearly eschatological (prophetic), for this word will give you a clue as to the sequence of events. Jehovah-Jesus will come when Jerusalem's fate looks to be sealed. 

NET Note on the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations - The statement the LORD will go to battle introduces the conflict known elsewhere as the “battle of Armageddon,” (MORE ACCURATELY THE Campaign of Armageddon) a battle in which the LORD delivers his people and establishes his millennial reign (cf. Joel 3:12, 15–16; Ezek 38–39; Rev 16:12–21; 19:19–21).

Guzik - “God is said to go forth when he manifests his power by delivering his people and punishing their enemies.” (Pulpit)

Arnold Fruchtenbaum has an interesting proposed sequence of events of the LORD's going forth in this day. Click here for map and his proposed stages. 

The prophet Isaiah describes this terminal event in world history this way...

Who 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?  3“I 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.  4“For the day of vengeance was in My heart, And My year of redemption has come.  5“I 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.  6“I 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-commentary)

The prophet Daniel says

You (King Nebuchadnezzar) continued looking until a Stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the Stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth (Messiah's Millennial Kingdom) (Da 2:34-35-commentary)

In the days of those kings (see Da 2:42-note) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. 45“Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy. (Da 2:44-45-commentary).

The prophet Joel says it this way

I will (GOD'S SOVEREIGN PLEASURE AND POWER) gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land. (Joel 3:2-commentary)

The prophet Zephaniah describes the day this way

“Behold, I am going to deal at that time with all your oppressors, I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will turn their shame into praise and renown In all the earth. (Zep 3:19-commentary)

As when He fights on a day of battle - In Revelation 19:11 the apostle John gives us more detail regarding this incredible climatic event in world history,  writing...

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”  17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God,  18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”  19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh. Revelation 19:11-21-note

Isaiah has a prophetic description which parallels Zechariah 14:3 and Revelation 19:11-21 writing...

For (term of explanation - explaining what he had just stated = Jehovah "will be indignant toward His enemies") behold (THIS IS A CALL TO "LISTEN UP!"), the LORD will come in fire (cf His eyes in Rev 19:12-note) and His chariots like the whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire.  16 For the LORD will execute judgment by fire and by His sword on all flesh, and those slain by the LORD (NOTICE WHO SLAYS THEM! CF Rev 19:15-note) will be many (cf Rev 19:21-note!).  (Isaiah 66:15-16)

Thomas Constable comments that "Yahweh coming with fire in chariots like whirlwinds is a picture of Him coming in judgment against His enemies (Isa 65:14; cf. Zechariah 14:3). The judgment in view in Isaiah 65:15–17 seems to be the one that will take place when Messiah returns to the earth (cf. Matt. 24:22; Mark 9:48; 2 Thess. 1:7–9; Rev. 19:11–21).

Moody Bible Commentary - God’s glory descends with wrath for the wicked, at the second coming of Jesus the Messiah (see Rev 19:11–21)

The fact that Messiah fights the enemies of God's people reminds me of something I often forget which are the words from David preparing to fight Goliath

"The battle is the LORD's and He will give (the enemy) into our hands." (1 Sa 17:47) 

God's prophet Zephaniah speaks of this day when the Messiah returns as Blood Avenger and pours out His indignation on the nations...

“Therefore wait for Me,” declares the LORD, “For the day when I rise up as a witness. Indeed, My decision is to gather nations, To assemble kingdoms, To pour out on them My indignation, All My burning anger; For all the earth will be devoured By the fire of My zeal.  (Zephaniah 3:8-commentary)

Lange's commentary - The last act of the judgment, as it is a fixed element of the prophetic eschatology, the final gathering of the heathen nations before Jerusalem, in order to be destroyed in the decisive struggle (comp. above, Introd. p. 9), is here represented under the point of view, that God, after He has subdued the separate powers that resisted Him, each in its own land (chap. 2:4 ff.), now causes the collective mass of nations to flock together, in order to shatter in one last decisive struggle everything opposed to God, in one day (comp. Micah 4:12). That is an object of hope for the meek of the land, and therefore the prophet proceeds: wait for me

MacArthur- The prophet transitions from the historical invasion of Judah by Babylon to the future day of the Lord. He speaks of the Great Tribulation, when the Lord will gather all the nations for judgment (cf. Joel 3:1, 2, 12–17; Zechariah 12:2, 3; Zech 14:2; Mt 24:21). The faithful remnant, presumably the meek of Zephaniah 2:1–3, are exhorted to wait in trust for Him to carry out His judgment. (MacArthur Study Bible)

Warren Wiersbe - The Lord concludes this message to Jerusalem by describing a courtroom scene in which He stands to testify against His people (Zeph 3:8). While the impending Babylonian Captivity is involved here, there is also an end-times application in the Battle of Armageddon, when the nations of the world converge against Jerusalem. God will pour out His wrath upon these nations, deliver His people, and establish His kingdom (Zech. 14:1–9). His jealous anger will burn like fire against all who resist His truth and disobey His Word. The terrible Day of the Lord will dawn and there will be no escape (see Zeph. 1:2ff). (Be Concerned)

Isaiah also prophecies of this day addressing the future Jewish remnant

Come, my people, enter into your rooms and close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while Until indignation runs its course. 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. (Isaiah 26:20-21)

Comment: Note the phrase inhabitants of the earth which signifies this is not a local, Middle Eastern judgment but a judgment that affects the entire world. Therefore by default this has to be speaking of God's judgment at the end of the age and as such would parallel the Zechariah 14:3 passage at the end of the Great Tribulation. Why do we say the Great Tribulation? Notice that Isaiah 26:20 refers to with the phrase "indignation" the Hebrew word zaam (02195) which is used in Daniel 11:36-note in a passage describing the coming Antichrist who "will prosper until the indignation (zaam) is finished, for that which is decreed will be done." 

MacArthur commenting on Isa 26:20 writes that "Israel’s final restoration was not immediately at hand. Hence she had to continue praying in solitude for that restoration until the time of God’s indignation would pass. (MacArthur Study Bible)

Lindsey - Isaiah wrote that the future remnant should hide during the time of distress (God’s wrath in the Tribulation), knowing that deliverance from the Lord will come. Eventually the Lord will set matters right by punishing people … for their sins. All sins will be made known (the earth will disclose the blood shed upon her), whether they have been done in secret or in public. These words would have encouraged the remnant in Isaiah’s day to remain true to the LORD, knowing that He will eventually judge sin. After that judgment is accomplished, believers will be able to sing the song recorded in Isaiah 26:1-21. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Warren Wiersbe - The remnant has been praying to God (Isa. 26:11–19), and now God speaks to them and gives them the assurance they need (Isaiah 26:20–21). He promises to shelter His people from the terrible attacks of the enemy (Rev. 12:1-17) (ED: SEE ESPECIALLY Rev 12:6, 14-note describing the persecution of the "woman" Israel in the last half of Daniel's Seventieth Week, the time known as  Jacob's Distress [Jer 30:7-note], aka the Great Tribulation which begins in Mt 24:15-note, and is specifically named in Mt 24:21-note). God will punish His enemies who have slain His people, whose blood cries out from the earth for vengeance (Ge 4:10–11; Ezek. 24:7–8; Rev. 6:9–11-note). The unjust shedding of blood pollutes the land (Nu 35:29–34; Ps. 106:34–39) and invites the judgment of God. (Be Comforted)

Egypt was the most powerful nation in the world and the Lord fought against them as they pursued Israel to eradicate her from the face of the earth, just as the Gentile power of the end times will be seeking to do to Israel. The God of Exodus is the God of Zechariah 14:3, Moses writing...

Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said, “I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.  2 “The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him.  3 The LORD is a warrior; The LORD is His name.  4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; and the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.  5 “The deeps cover them; They went down into the depths like a stone.  6 “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.  (Exodus 15:1-6) (And all God's people said "Amen!")

Guzik - This was the type of arrival the Jews in Jesus’ day hoped for. Indeed, when the Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem in 70 A.D. a mistaken assurance from prophecies like this made the Jews utterly confident that the Messiah would return from heaven and wipe out the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem. They could not see that the Messiah must first be rejected and the nation brought to repentance as Zechariah mentioned in Zech 11:12–13 and Zech 12:10.

Feinberg -  After the enemy has prevailed and the hour is darkest, the Lord Himself espouses the cause of His beleaguered people. “Jehovah is a man of war” (Ex 15:3) and the battle is not new to Him. Wright notes that “the expression ‘to go forth’ (יצא) is used almost technically for the going forth of an army to battle.” Jehovah of hosts will muster His hosts for the encounter, although the battle will be the Lord’s. Jerome, Hengstenberg, and Pusey, among others, take the reference to the day of battle as an allusion specifically to the conflict at the Red Sea (Exod 14:14). (The Great Consummation: Israel’s Deliverance and God’s Earthly Kingdom, 14:1-21)


Steven Cole -  The Triumph of the Coming King 

The older you get, the less you look forward to birthdays. They are just another reminder that “the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be”! (That applies to the old gray stud, too!) But kids love birthdays! When our kids were young, for weeks in advance of their birthdays they would excitedly look forward to that day. They would tell strangers they met, “I’m five but I’m almost six!” They looked forward to the party and the presents. Having a birthday meant that you could go to school and tell the other kids, “You’re only five, but I’m six!” Even though the other kid may turn six in a few weeks, it gave you the competitive edge!

There is a day mentioned repeatedly in the Bible that we should be anticipating with eagerness. It is called “the day of the Lord.” It is a major theme of this chapter (Zechariah 14:1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 20, & 21). The day of the Lord is not a 24-hour day, but that future period of time when the Lord will bring judgment to the wicked and salvation to His faithful. The New Testament makes clear that the hallmark of this day will be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to earth. He will destroy the nations that are on the verge of destroying Israel, and establish His Millennial reign over all the earth from Jerusalem.

But before He comes, Jesus prophesied that there will be a time of tribulation such has never occurred before, nor ever will occur after. I used to believe that the church will be raptured before the tribulation (Ed: See Rapture), but I now am not so sure about that. But whether we are raptured beforehand or go through the tribulation, we certainly must be prepared for persecution. At the end of the tribulation, there will be cataclysmic events in the heavens, all the nations of the earth will mourn, and then “they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.” He will send forth His angels to gather His elect from all over the earth (see Matt. 24:21-31). Then Jesus will rule the nations with a rod of iron (Rev. 12:5; Rev 19:15).

Zechariah 14 refers to this coming “day of the Lord.” Although some seek to explain the chapter in terms of past historical invasions of Israel or the ongoing spiritual battles of the church, I think that in light of the context of Zechariah, this chapter is best explained in reference to the Jews and to events that are yet future. It refers to the great final battle, elsewhere called the Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:16; 19:11; see Ezekiel 38-note, Ezekiel 39-note). When Israel is surrounded by the armies of the nations and on the verge of annihilation, the Lord Jesus will return in power and glory.   When Christ returns as King, He will defeat His enemies and establish His righteous kingdom over all the earth.

We can divide the chapter into two parts: Zech 14:1-15 describes the return of Christ and the defeat of His enemies; Zech 14:16-21 portrays the establishment of Christ’s righteous kingdom over all the earth.

 1. The return of Christ as King will mean the defeat of His enemies (Zech 14:1-15).
The first verses of chapter 14 go back to the last two verses of chapter 13, and to the battle mentioned in Zech 12:2-9. The earlier description did not mention that Jerusalem would be overrun before the Lord would intervene, but that is the picture here (Zech 14:2-3). In 14:1, the enemies are leisurely dividing the spoil from Jerusalem in its streets, thinking that they have defeated the Jews. Then Jesus will return, His feet will touch down on the very place from which He ascended, the Mount of Olives, it will be split in two, the surviving remnant will escape, and Jesus will rout His enemies. I can’t deal with all the details, but note 3 things:

 A. It will be a sudden defeat-Do not be deceived!
Israel’s enemies will be gloating over what they think is their victory when the Lord will suddenly wipe them out. Zech 14:12-15 describe in more detail the extreme suddenness of God’s victory: The enemy’s “flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and they eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth” (Zech 14:12). The same fate will befall their animals (Zech 14:15). It sounds like a description of a nuclear attack, but it may be a plague from God. Before this plague destroys everyone, in panic, the enemy coalition will fight against each other (Zech 14:13). But the point is, it will be a last minute, sudden victory for God.
Revelation 18 pictures it the same way. The evil world system, called Babylon the Great, is sitting pretty. The merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality. She boasts, “I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.” But then in one day, in one hour, judgment falls and she is destroyed (see Rev. 18:3, 7, 8, 10, 17, 19).

These prophetic sections of Scripture were not written so that we could draw up cool prophecy charts and speculate about the end times. God wants us to apply these prophecies. The application is: Do not be deceived! In spite of how things now look, this evil world will not win. God will win and He will win big! He sovereignly gathers the nations against Jerusalem for this final showdown (Zech 14:2). His purpose for the ages is to enthrone Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords, and He will accomplish His purpose!

We’re all tempted at this point. We look around and it seems like the bad guys are winning. The guy at work who cheats and lies gets the promotion. You’re honest and come out the loser. Worldly people spend their time and money pursuing pleasure and seem to live pretty well. You obey God, give your money to His kingdom, and seem to have problem after problem. Like the guy in Psalm 73, you wonder, “What’s going on? The wicked forsake God and prosper. I follow God and am chastened every day!” You’re tempted to join the other side. But God warns us, “Don’t be deceived!” Even if you suffer persecution or martyrdom, you will be blessed because God’s side is going to win in the end!

You may be thinking, “That’s easy to say. But how can you know for sure that these prophecies will literally come true? What if I deny myself and suffer for Christ’s kingdom, but He never comes back? What if I put all my hope in heaven, but it isn’t true?”

There are good reasons within the Book of Zechariah (not to mention the rest of the Bible) for staking your life on these prophecies. Zechariah has given us many specific prophecies about the first coming of Jesus Christ that were literally fulfilled. He predicted that Jesus would come to Jerusalem, “humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech 9:9). Jesus fulfilled that prophecy on Palm Sunday. Zechariah prophesied that Jesus would be rejected by the nation, sold for 30 pieces of silver, and that the money would be thrown to the potter in the house of the Lord (Zech 11:12-13). Judas Iscariot precisely fulfilled that prophecy in his betrayal of Jesus.

The point is, if Zechariah could precisely predict these events about Christ’s first coming 500 years in advance, shouldn’t we believe that he is accurate in predicting the details about Christ’s second coming, especially when his predictions line up with many other Scriptures? So when it seems as if evil is winning, don’t be deceived! Don’t switch sides! Jesus is coming quickly and His reward is with Him (Rev. 22:12).

B. It will be a powerful defeat-Do not despair!
The defeat of God’s enemies at Armageddon will be accompanied by an awesome display of power. As we’ve seen, a powerful plague will rot off the flesh of His enemies while they are still standing. In addition, there will be frightening changes on the earth and in the heavens. The Mount of Olives will be split in half, creating a large valley (Zech 14:4). A new river will flow out of Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean Sea. I understand this to be a literal river that also has a spiritual meaning (which I will explain in a moment). The land surrounding Jerusalem will be leveled into a broad plain, with Jerusalem elevated above it (Zech 14:10). While we cannot determine the exact locations of all these sites now, the specific names show that they should be taken literally.

There also will be cataclysmic changes in the heavens (Zech 14:6-7). (The NIV translation, “no cold or frost,” is not based on the Hebrew text and should be rejected.) The sun, moon, and stars will be dimmed (Isa. 13:9-10; Joel 2:31; 3:15; Matt. 24:29; Rev. 6:12-14; 8:10-12; 16:8-10). It will be a kind of murky twilight, unlike any time before. The phrase “at evening time there will be light” probably refers to the end of that period of judgment when light from the heavenly bodies will be restored and the light of the glory of the Lord will illumine the earth. It will be an eerie, frightening time, demonstrating God’s mighty power through His creation.

Two other facts here underscore the Lord’s power. The first is that Zechariah clearly believed in the deity of Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. In Zech 14:5 he states, “Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with him!” “Holy ones” refers both to the angels (Matt. 25:31; 2 Thess. 1:7) and to believers who have been in heaven with the Lord (1 Thess. 3:13; 4:16-17). The Lord, whose human feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, is God in human flesh. He is powerful enough to defeat all His enemies!

The second fact that underscores the Lord’s power is His personal, bodily coming. He is coming back just as He departed (bodily, not just spiritually), so that every eye will see Him (Acts 1:11; Rev. 1:7-note). Jesus describes His second coming as being “with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30). John saw Him as a mighty warrior on a white horse, His eyes a flame of fire, His robe dipped in blood, a sharp sword coming from His mouth, and all the armies of heaven following Him on white horses (Rev. 19:11-16-note). He is going to win big!

The application is, Do not despair! You may be overwhelmed by horrible trials or powerful enemies. It may look as if the evil side has already won. Perhaps you are filled with doubts and despair. But our dire extremities become God’s choice opportunities to display His mighty power on our behalf! Remember the theme of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo: Whom the Lord remembers (“Zechariah”) He blesses (“Berechiah”) at the appointed time (“Iddo”). God has not forgotten you in your trial. He will deliver you in His appointed time.

You may be thinking, “I know that God is able to deliver me from any and every trial. But what if He doesn’t do it? What if the enemy-sickness, persecution, some catastrophe-wins? At such times, our answer should be the same as the answer that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego gave to Nebuchadnezzar when he threatened to throw them into the furnace for refusing to bow down before his idol. They said, “... our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Dan. 3:17-18). They did not know if God would deliver them from death, but they knew that He is still the only true God. They remained obedient to Him even in the face of impending death. As Paul puts it in Romans 8:36-39, even if we are put to death as sheep for the slaughter, we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. Thus the Lord’s triumph over His enemies at the last day will be sudden, so that we should not be deceived when it seems that evil forces are winning. It will be powerful, so that we should not despair when we are overwhelmed by enemies that are stronger than we are.  (Zechariah 14:1-21 The Triumph of the Coming King)

Zechariah 14:4   In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.

  • His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives: Zec 14:7 Eze 11:23 43:2 Acts 1:11,12 
  • the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west: Zec 4:7 Isa 64:1,2 Mic 1:3,4 Na 1:5,6 Hab 3:6 Mk 11:23 
  • by a very large valley: Zec 14:10 Joel 3:12-14 
  • half of the mountain will move toward the north: Eze 47:1-12 

TECTONIC TRANSFORMATION
IN JERUSALEM

 
Mount of Olives split in the Millennium-click to enlarge

In that day is of course the day the King of kings returns just as the angels had predicted in Acts 1:9-12 

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing (ANGELS) stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? 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 (LITERALLY BODILY, VISIBLY, IN THE CLOUDS).” 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.

In that day  - 7x in 7v and 17x in 16v in Zechariah 12-14

Zech. 12:3; Zech. 12:4; Zech. 12:6; Zech. 12:8; Zech. 12:9; Zech. 12:11; Zech. 13:1; Zech. 13:2; Zech. 13:4; Zech. 14:4; Zech. 14:6; Zech. 14:8; Zech. 14:9; Zech. 14:13; Zech. 14:20; Zech. 14:21

His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives: To reiterate a point in interpretation -- Although this passage is indeed mind boggling but there is absolutely no reason it cannot be read literally! God can stand on and split any mountain He chooses, and in this case the returning Messiah stands on the Mount of Olives which is just east of the Temple Mount area in the Holy City. In Acts 1:12 above, it is clear that when He ascended into the cloud, it was from the Mount of Olives ("Olivet") and as promised it would be the place to which He would return. God's prophetic promises are immutable and irreversible and will be faithfully and fully fulfilled...LITERALLY! You can stake your life on it!

The event described by Zechariah is in a sense a fulfillment of Isaiah's plea to God to execute vengeance suddenly on Israel's foes crying out...

Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence–  As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil– To make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence! (Isaiah 64:1-2)

Stubbs adds similar comments (writing on Zechariah 14:4-7) - it is most important to see that Zechariah is not speaking with poetic language, or merely giving imagery. Neither is this some kind of spiritual vision. Here we have specific prophecy that must be taken literally. By no system of interpretation can it be spiritualized or explained away. To do so is to fly in the face of plain language and to ignore the precise details which are such a feature in Zechariah's book. The geographical description of the Mount of Olives given, the physical upheaval that will result from the Messiah's arrival, as well as the vivid and graphic style and the fleeing of the remnant through the escape route of the valley opened up, all combine to make clear that the only right interpretation the passage deserves is a literal one. The context throughout the chapter supports this view and should make every honest reader feel that this vivid drama will surely be enacted on our earth and in the sight of all men. Zechariah here gives us one of the most wonderful prophecies of the Old Testament. The same prophet who gave precise details as to the first advent in grace of the Lord Jesus in Zech 9 now gives us precise details of the second advent in glory of the Saviour. It will be an earth—shattering and transforming event. It will be a universally known event. It will be a supernatural, terrifying event for the world, and it will be a timely delivering event for the remnant. (What the Bible Teaches)

Charles Feinberg writes that "This prophecy cannot be relegated to the sphere of beautiful poetic description. There is no reason why it cannot be taken literally. Just as the Red Sea was actually divided for the rescue of the children of Israel, so now the Mount of Olives is cleft asunder for their escape from the enemy." (The Minor Prophets).

It is particularly poignant that the great glory of the Lord (Mt 24:30-note) will return to the Mount of Olives. Why is this so significant? The return of His glory reverses (or re-traces) the departure of His glory. The departure of Shekinah glory of the LORD is described in Ezekiel 10-11 where the prophet chronicles a step by step withdrawal of the glory

  1. Ezek 8:3-4-note - and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court, where the seat of the idol of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy, was located. 4 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there,
  2. Ezek 9:3-note - Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple.
    Ezek 10:3-4-note = "the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the (Shekinah) cloud and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the LORD",
  3. Ezek 10:18-19-note = "the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple", "at the entrance of the east gate of the LORD’S house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered"
  4. Ezekiel 11:22-23-note is the final stage of His withdrawal "Then the cherubim lifted up their wings with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them."The glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city (The Mount of Olives is east of the city)." 

Click here for a schematic depiction and discussion of the Glory of the LORD, Past, Present and Future

The Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley: The mountain splits latitudinally. Although the figure of an earthquake is mentioned in the next verse, Zechariah does not say that the split was actually caused by an earthquake. It could have been, but it could have also been simply a command from the Creator of the universe to "split!" Either way, it will be a most dramatic event reminding us that Jesus is in control! The cleft goes from east to west, exactly as the waters of the Red Sea were separated (Ex. 14:21–22, cf "the LORD opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind," Ex 14:21NLT)).  This topographical change is mind-boggling and defies human logic. The point is that God said it. That settles it, whether we believe it  or not and whether we can explain it or not (we cannot explain it). So whether one attempts to invoke geological explanations, etc, it makes no difference, for it is clearly a reflection of the wise plan of our omnipotence of God, Who holds the whole world in His hands! You can mark it down as "Gospel truth" that...

God is behind the scenes and
controls the scenes He is behind.

What is going on your life that you think is simply too "big" for His omnipotent hands to handle?

Charles Feinberg observes that "In 2 Samuel 15:30 the mountain is called “the ascent of Olives.” (note that your version may say "ascent of the Mount of Olives" but the word "Mount" has been added and is not in the original Hebrew ) The place of His departure is the place of His return (Ac 1:11). The scene of the agony will witness the display of His glory." (The Minor Prophets) 

Feinberg adds that "The Mount of Olives was the most serious obstacle in the way of a quick escape from Jerusalem. It was such in David’s hour of flight from Absalom (2 Sam 15:30). God will convert the obstacle into a way of escape." (The Great Consummation: Israel’s Deliverance and God’s Earthly Kingdom, 14:1-21)

NET Note - This seismic activity provides a means of escape from Jerusalem so that the Messiah (the LORD), whose feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, may destroy the wicked nations in the Kidron Valley (the v. of Jehoshaphat, or of “judgment of the LORD”) without harming the inhabitants of the city.

So that (see terms of purpose or result) - Here Zechariah explains the purpose of the mountain splitting, a purpose that even clearer in Zech 14:5 where the splitting will result in a way of escape. This reminds me of the spiritual song by Don Moen God will make a way where there seems to be no way! Perhaps you are feeling trapped in some situation as you read these notes. You can be sure that the same God Who made a way for Israel through the Red Sea in the past and will make a way for Israel through the valley of the mountains in the future, is able to make a way for you today dearly beloved of God. 

McComiskey summarizes the message well: “The geological shift of the mountain northward and southward creates an awareness of awesome power, a vivid pictorial representation of the activity of the invisible God in history.” (The Minor Prophets:An Exegetical and Expository Commentary)

Half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south - There is not much one can do to explain this, so it is best to simply read and ponder these events with wonder and awe. It is worthy noting that we as believers will indeed be spectators at thsi supernatural spectacle, for Revelation 19 makes it clear that we return with Christ when He comes to wage war. John writes...

And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.  (Revelation 19:14-note)

Comment: Some believe this is just the angels but I don't think so (the angels may well be in the armies), for there is an almost identical phrase in Revelation 17:14-note which adds some details characterizing those what return with Christ. John says that "those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” The called. The elect. The faithful. This is a much more likely description of saints than it is of angels. 

Dr Garland agrees writing that "The angels which did not follow Satan in his rebellion (Rev. 12:4-note) are also said to be “chosen”: “The elect angels” is tōn eklektōn angelōn . But being called speaks of a time prior to having come to the faith—something the elect angels do not experience for they have never been lost, but remained continually faithful. Calling is unique to those saints who at one time were not saints, that is, human beings rather than angels (Ro 1:6; Ro 8:28-30; 2 Ti 2:9). “These epithets called, chosen, and faithful, can only strictly apply to saints [not angels].” Those who are both called and chosen are “His own elect who cry out day and night to Him” (Luke 18:7-note). They did not choose Him, but He chose them (John 15:16). This speaks of human beings, not just angels, who will return with Christ at His Second Coming. They do not remain in heaven, but return to participate in the Millennial Kingdom which follows (Rev. 20:4-6-note). They are said to be faithful because they are human beings, born among those who were fallen, but who then exercised faith to salvation.

Jon Courson Years ago, when Sheraton Hotel Corporation was looking at the Mount of Olives as a potential site, an environmental impact study showed that, due to a major fault running right through the Mount of Olives, they could not continue construction. In other words geologists "discovered" what Scripture had known for 2,500 years. (Jon Courson's Application Commentary)


SOME EXAMPLES OF
NON-LITERAL INTERPRETATION

When one does not accept a literal reading of this text, it is utterly amazing the conclusions intelligent men can arrive at, as exemplified by Adam Clarke's explanation of the mountain being split -- "I really think that these words refer to the lines of circumvallation, to intrenchments, redoubts, etc., which the Romans made while carrying on the siege of this city; and particularly the lines or trenches which the army made on Mount Olivet itself." Clarke has pinned himself in a corner by trying to ascribe the events in Zechariah 14 to the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus in 70 AD. His interpretation sadly borders on being absurd. Roman trenches could hardly have moved the mountain (which of course is still standing just as it was in 70 AD). Zechariah is clearly describing a monumental eschatological event which has not yet occurred. 

James Coffman a Church of Christ writer (whose works are freely available on the internet which is why it is given as an example to avoid) has this to say on the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley - "We see in this the grand cleavage of the entire human race as achieved in the preaching of the gospel of Christ. "The very great valley" that separates between them is that "impassable gulf" dividing the saved from the lost (Luke 16:26)." This is spiritualizing a text about as bad as one could do. Here is the point - One needs to be very careful and discerning in reading older commentaries particularly when they write on prophetic passages. 

John Calvin is not much better writing that in Zechariah 14:4 the prophet "illustrates here his discourse by figurative expressions...employing a highly figurative language....The import of the whole is, — that God’s power would be so remarkable in the deliverance of his Church, as though God manifested himself in a visible form and reviewed the battle from the top of the mountain, and gave orders how everything was to be done." So not only does Calvin spiritualize the passage, but he also substitutes the Church for the nation of Israel, a clear example of  What is replacement theology. Calvin is a brilliant theologian, but his comments on prophetic passages are generally non-literal and not very helpful.

As bad as the previous interpretations are, thankfully there is one older commentary that usually seeks a literal interpretation of the Biblical text. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown (written in 1871) have this comment on Zech 14:4

The object of the cleaving of the mount in two by a fissure or valley (a prolongation of the valley of Jehoshaphat, and extending from Jerusalem on the west towards Jordan, eastward) is to open a way of escape to the besieged (compare Joel 3:12, Joel 3:14). Half the divided mount is thereby forced northward, half southward; the valley running between. The place of His departure at His ascension shall be the place of His return: and the “manner” of His return also shall be similar (Acts 1:11). He shall probably “come from the east” (Matthew 24:27). He so made His triumphal entry into the city from the Mount of Olives from the east (Matthew 21:1-10). This was the scene of His agony: so it shall be the scene of His glory. Compare Ezekiel 11:23, with Ezekiel 43:2, “from the way of the east.”

Zechariah 14:5  You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!

  • You will flee by the valley of My mountains. Nu 16:34 Rev 11:13 Rev 16:18-21
  • as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: Isa 29:6 Am 1:1 
  • Then the LORD, my God, will come: Ps 96:13 97:4-6 98:9 Isa 64:1-3 66:15,16 Da 7:9-14,21-27 Mt 16:27 24:3,27-31 25:31 Mk 13:26,27 Lu 21:27 2Th 2:8 Jas 5:8 Jude 1:14,15 Rev 6:16,17 20:4,11 
  • and all the holy ones with Him: De 33:2 Joel 3:11 1Th 3:13 2Th 1:7-10 

THE LORD'S ARRIVAL 
LIKE AN EARTHQUAKE

You - To whom does you refer? The remnant of Jews in Jerusalem who will not be cut off .  

You will flee by the valley of My mountains -  literally “valley of my mountains,” or a valley between mountains. In context, this would be the valley that emerges from the topographic tumult in Zechariah 14:4 and which provides a route of escape for Jerusalem’s population ("the rest" or remnant described in Zech 14:2-note).

For the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel - This is the only mention of Azel in the Bible but from the context this is far enough away from the bloodshed in Jerusalem to be a place of safety. 

MacArthur on Azel - It is best understood as a place E of Jerusalem, marking the eastern end of the newly created valley. Though exact identification is unknown, it is possibly the Valley of Jehoshaphat or Valley of Decision (cf. Joel 3:12, 14) which will be for judgment of the nations and for the escape of the half who were not captured (v. 2) (MacArthur Study Bible)

As you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: This speaks of urgency needed in order to escape the earthquake in Uzziah's day. Earthquakes were quite common in Palestine, so this one must have been of special violence for the memory of it to linger some two centuries. Amos 1:1 seems to allude to this earthquake writing "in the days of Uzziah king of Judah...two years before the earthquake." So just as they fled for their lives in Uzziah's day, so too must the remnant flee in the Time of Jacob's Distress (Jeremiah 30:7-note)

Feinberg - This must have been an unusually severe disturbance, for two centuries had already passed since its occurrence, yet it is set forth here for comparison (Amos 1:1 - Ed: Amos was written circa 760 B.C. and Zechariah was written circa 520-480 B.C). (The Great Consummation: Israel’s Deliverance and God’s Earthly Kingdom, 14:1-21)

Klein - The earthquake in the days of King Uzziah (mid eighth century BC) must have been so frightening that it held a place of prominence in Judah’s corporate memory generations later. Josephus related the cause of the earthquake in Uzziah’s day to Uzziah’s attempt to offer incense in the temple over the protests of the priests. So dramatic was the earthquake that the book of Amos dates the prophecy in terms of this seismic event: (Amos 1:1) (NAC)

Merrill - Recent research at Hazor gives evidence of such a seismic event in 760 B.C., one that must have been so significant as to provide a point of reference 250 years later....This is no mere earthquake in Zechariah, however, but a shaking of the whole universe as YHWH comes in judgment. (Ibid)

There is a modern spiritual song entitled Hosanna (play) and one of the lines reminds me of this incredible future supernatural (naturally illogical) geological transformation....

I see the King of glory
Coming in the clouds with fire
And the whole earth shakes
The whole earth shakes.

And my guess is that in that day all the godless of this shaking world will themselves be shaking, as they realize the One Whom they spurned and scoffed at, even using His Holy Name Jesus or Christ as a profane curse word, that this One coming with GREAT GLORY (Mt 24:30-note) is not a figment of their imagination, but is really returning with eyes like fire to judge the world once and for all! 

Then (at that time; at the time in question, at that point in time, at that moment, on that occasion) - This "time sensitive" conjunction occurs 4 times in Zechariah 14 (Zech 14:3, 5, 16, 18) and in eschatological (prophetic) passages is very useful to identify, for "then" will help you see the sequence of events. Jehovah-Jesus will come when Jerusalem's fate looks to be sealed. The previous "then" described the LORD going forth to fight and His feet standing on the Mount of Olives. Now Zechariah uses another "then" which is followed again by the verb "come." Remembering that "then" signifies sequence in a series of events this "coming" of the LORD is not that described in Zech 14:3, but must refer to a subsequent "coming," which is discussed below.

The LORD, my God, will come and all the holy ones with Him - To where will the King of kings come? Presumably He is coming to Jerusalem. The holy ones with him include the followers of Christ, who followed Him in life as His disciples and now will follow Him to His true triumphal entry into Jerusalem. If we integrate the parallel text in Revelation 19, He will come riding on a white horse (although admittedly for His feet to touch the Mount of Olives, He would have had to dismount). If this scenario is accurate it could represent His TRUE triumphal entry into Jerusalem, arriving not on a colt or donkey when He came as the Suffering Servant the first time, but riding on a white horse which was typical of ancient oriental conquerors entering a conquered city. 

Charles Feinberg - Then the gaze of the prophet is directed to the Messiah Himself, coming with His holy ones who are both angels and redeemed humanity. His heart is so filled with the vision that he changes to direct address (Isa 25:9 And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”). For the constituency of this company see Matthew 24:30-31 (angels) and 1 Corinthians 15:23 and 1 Th 3:13-note (so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.); 1 Th 4:14 (redeemed men). Thank God, He that promised to come will come and with great power and glory. (The Minor Prophets)

Feinberg summarizes the text to this point noting that Zechariah 14:1-5 "have given us the results for Israel in Messiah’s coming; Zech 14:6–11 treat of the consequences for the land of Israel in the coming of Messiah; Zech 14:12–19 deal with the results for the nations in Messiah’s coming; and Zech 14:20, 21 portray the issue for holiness in the appearing of Messiah. How much is dependent upon the blessed event of the return of our gracious Lord! No wonder all creation, animal and human, groans and longs for that hour (Ro 8:18–25). (The Great Consummation: Israel’s Deliverance and God’s Earthly Kingdom, 14:1-21)

Zechariah 14:6  In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle.

  • there will be no light: Ps 97:10,11 112:4 Pr 4:18,19 Isa 50:10 60:1-3 Ho 6:3 Lu 1:78,79 Joh 1:5 12:46 Eph 5:8-14 Col 1:12 2Pe 1:19 Rev 11:3,15 

NET  Zechariah 14:6 On that day there will be no light– the sources of light in the heavens will congeal. 

ESV  Zechariah 14:6 On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. (Marginal note - Compare Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, Targum; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.)

NLT  Zechariah 14:6 On that day the sources of light will no longer shine,

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD CHANGES
THE LIGHTS OF THE WORLD!

The reader should understand that verses 6 and 7 are very difficult to translate from the original Hebrew and the interpretation is likewise very difficult. It follows that these notes will only attempt to give you a sense of the gist of the passages and not seek to render a dogmatic interpretation. The events the prophet describe in these passages to a certain degree are beyond our human comprehension. 

We should not be surprised that the return of the King to the world He spoke into existence would be attending by remarkable changes in the realm of nature. 

In that day - The Day of the LORD. Recall that this time phrase is a "key phrase" in the interpretation of this last prophetic unit, Zechariah 12-14. In that day occurs 17x in 16v in Zechariah 12-14 (Zech. 12:3; Zech. 12:4; Zech. 12:6; Zech. 12:8; Zech. 12:9; Zech. 12:11; Zech. 13:1; Zech. 13:2; Zech. 13:4; Zech. 14:4; Zech. 14:6; Zech. 14:8; Zech. 14:9; Zech. 14:13; Zech. 14:20; Zech. 14:21). If one is confused about this "key phrase," then frankly one has lost one of the Spirit's primary "keys" tying together and unlocking these incredible prophecies. The diligent student seeking to rightly divide the Word of truth will patiently interrogate each of these 17 uses by prayerfully asking the 5W/H questions. Nevertheless, some commentators continue to have difficulty determining the timing of the phrase in that day. For example, the respected resource, the ESV Study Bible comments "It is difficult to determine what period of time is being indicated by the remarkable prophecies in this entire chapter, whether a future time in this present age, or a future millennial kingdom and the rebellion that follows it, or the events that surround Christ’s return and the beginning of the eternal state (see note on Ezek. 40:1-48:35; see also 1 Pet. 1:10-11)." I would submit IT IS NOT DIFFICULT to determine the period of time in this chapter if one reads the passages literally and compares Scripture with Scripture. This is clearly the terminal event in this present age preceding Messiah's establishment of His 1000 year earthly Kingdom that they Jews have been anticipating for millennia (e.g., see the question of the disciples in Acts 1:6 [see note below] “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring (apokathistemi) the kingdom to Israel?”)

There will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle - Literally the Hebrew reads "glorious ones will congeal." The will "congeal" or "coagulate" resulting in darkness. In effect the luminaries "congeal" which means to change or cause to change from a soft or fluid state to a firm or solid state. This "supernatural curdling" of the luminaries prevents them from giving off light as they normally did. But these are not normal times, for the Messiah is preparing to establish His Kingdom on earth. 

Notice that the ESV reads "there shall be no light, cold, or frost" and a number of commentators favor this latter reading. 

Klein summarizes this verse which is very difficult to translate from the Hebrew - While the Hebrew of v. 6 presents real challenges, the overall meaning of the verse is relatively straightforward. Verse 6 begins the catalog of cosmic changes that the Lord’s arrival will effect. The Lord will reverse aspects of creation to establish the new kingdom he is predicting. The undoing of God’s creative work lays the foundation for what he wants to establish. In other words, demolition precedes construction. Merrill comments, “Whereas Genesis is describing creation out of chaos, Zechariah speaks of chaos out of creation.” (Ibid)

Lindsey gives a more general summary of these difficult passages - At any rate the time of Christ’s Second Advent will be accompanied by unparalleled natural phenomena. (BKC)

Here are some other passages related to the Second Coming and the remarkable signs in the universe He created...

Isa. 13:9-10 Behold, the day of the LORD is coming (WHICH IS WHAT ZECHARIAH IS DESCRIBING IN SOME DETAIL), Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it. 10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light

Isa 34:4 (Read the context = Isaiah 34:1, 2, 3) And all the host of heaven will wear away, And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as one withers from the fig tree. 

Joel 2:10-11 Before them the earth quakes, The heavens tremble, The sun and the moon grow dark And the stars lose their brightness. 11 And the LORD utters His voice before His army; Surely His camp is very great, For strong is he who carries out His word. The day of the LORD is indeed great and very awesome, And who can endure it? 

Joel 2:30-31  “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke.  31 “The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 

Joel 3:14-15  Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and moon grow dark And the stars lose their brightness.  16 The LORD roars from Zion And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.  17 Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. So Jerusalem will be holy, And strangers will pass through it no more.

Amos 5:18 Alas, you who are longing for the day of the LORD, For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light; 

Matthew 24:29-note  “But immediately after the tribulation of those days (IN CONTEXT = THE TERMINATION OF 3.5 YEAR GREAT TRIBULATION - which begins in Mt 24:15-note, and is specifically named in Mt 24:21-note) THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30-note “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.

Comment: Dear reader if you have time refer to my detailed notes on the interpretation of Mt 24:29-30 to help you discern the timing of the events being described. See especially the section entitled "Unmistakable Cosmic Signs Herald His Coming and the Consummation of the Age."

The last part of this passage which the NAS renders as the luminaries will dwindle has been the subject of much debate among Hebrew scholars, but will not be dealt with in these notes. For a more detailed analysis of the issues see Charles Feinberg's scholarly paper The Great Consummation: Israel’s Deliverance and God’s Earthly Kingdom, 14:1-21

Holman Old Testament Commentary - The NIV's no cold or frost follows the ancient versions, but the Hebrew text more literally reads, "The splendid ones [heavenly bodies] will congeal." The NASB's "the luminaries will dwindle" (cp. NKJV) seems to capture the idea of the Hebrew well and explains why there will be no light.

Eugene Merrill on dwindle - The meaning is that the loss of light is explained by the congealing of the heavenly bodies, their “thickening” as it were to the point that they cannot shine. Again, the Song of the Sea in Exodus 15 is helpful, for the same verb, “congeal,” is used to speak of the thickening (or, perhaps, hardening) of the depths of the sea so that they could stand like walls on either side (v. 8). Job speaks of his own formation in the womb as a “curdling” like that of cheese as it thickens (Job 10:10). The only other use of the verb, in Zeph. 1:12, also uses the language of a congealing of substance such as wine as a metaphor for insensitive self-confidence. Thus, the luminaries of heaven will become clouded over, thickened or congealed, so that their light will not shine forth. (An Exegetical Commentary)

Dwindle (07087)(qapha) means to curdle, congeal, become settled or stagnant. 

The Lxx translates qapha here with the noun pagos which describes that which is fixed or firmly set (a rocky hill). Pagos was part of the name of the Areopagus in Athens (areios pagos). 

Gilbrant writes that qapha means "to thicken," and...is used of God's congealing the waters of the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross on dry land (Ex. 15:8). Job metaphorically speaks of being curdled like cheese (Job 10:10). Zephaniah prophesied that the Lord would punish the "complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs" (Zeph. 1:12NIV). The settling action of the wine would thicken the drink. (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Qapha - 4x in 4v - congealed(1), curdle(1), dwindle(1), stagnant(1).

Exodus 15:8  “At the blast of Your nostrils the waters were piled up, The flowing waters stood up like a heap; The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea. 

Job 10:10  ‘Did You not pour me out like milk And curdle me like cheese; 

Zephaniah 1:12   “It will come about at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And I will punish the men Who are stagnant in spirit, Who say in their hearts, ‘The LORD will not do good or evil!’ 

Zechariah 14:6 In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle.

SUMMARY OF SIMILAR COSMIC SIGNS
IN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS

Sun will be darkened:

  • Isa. 13:10 = The sun will be dark when it rises
  • Isa 24:23 = Then...the sun ashamed
  • Jer 4:23-28 = the heavens above be dark
  • Joel 2:10 = The sun and the moon grow dark
  • Joel 3:15 = The sun and moon grow dark,
  • Amos 5:20 = Will not the day of the LORD be darkness
  • Amos 8:9 = the sun go down at noon and make the earth dark in broad daylight
  • Rev. 6:12 = the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair

Moon will not give its light:

  • Isa. 13:10 = And the moon will not shed its light.
  • Isa 24:23 = Then the moon will be abashed
  • Ezek. 32:7 = moon shall not give its light
  • Joel 2:10 = The sun and the moon grow dark
  • Joel 2:30-31 = the moon into blood, before the great and awesome Day of the LORD comes
  • Joel 3:15 = The sun and moon grow dark
  • Rev. 6:12 = And I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood;

The stars:

  • Isa 34:4 = all the host of heaven will wear away...All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, or as one withers from the fig tree.
  • Joel 3:15 = and the stars lose their brightness
  • Rev. 6:13 = and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind

Powers of the heavens:

  • Joel 2:10 = The heavens tremble
  • Hag. 2:6, 21 = I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land...I am going to shake the heavens and the earth.
  • Luke 21:26 = the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
  • Rev. 6:13 = the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.

Matthew 24:36-44 An Ordinary Day - Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. —Matthew 24:42

An Ordinary Day - Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. —Matthew 24:42

While exploring a museum exhibit titled "A Day in Pompeii," I was struck by the repeated theme that August 24, 79 AD began as an ordinary day. People were going about their daily business in homes, markets, and at the port of this prosperous Roman town of 20,000 people. At 8 a.m., a series of small emissions were seen coming from nearby Mount Vesuvius, followed by a violent eruption in the afternoon. In less than 24 hours, Pompeii and many of its people lay buried under a thick layer of volcanic ash. Unexpected.

Jesus told His followers that He would return on a day when people were going about their business, sharing meals, and having weddings, with no idea of what was about to happen. "As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matt. 24:37).

The Lord's purpose was to urge the disciples to be watchful and prepared: "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Mt 24:44). - David McCasland (Copyright Our Daily Bread - All rights reserved)

What surprising joy it would be to welcome our Savior on this ordinary day!

Perhaps today!

Zechariah 14:7  For it will be a unique day which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light.

  • it will be a unique day : or, the day shall be one, Rev 21:23 22:5 
  • which is known to the LORD: Ps 37:18 Mt 24:36 Mk 13:32 Ac 1:7 15:18 17:26,31 1Th 5:2 
  • it will come about that at evening time there will be light: Isa 9:7 11:9 30:26 60:19,20 Da 12:4 Ho 3:5 Rev 11:15 14:6 Rev 20:2-4 21:3

NET  Zechariah 14:7 It will happen in one day (a day known to the LORD); not in the day or the night, but in the evening there will be light.

KJV  Zechariah 14:7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.

ESV  Zechariah 14:7 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.

NLT  Zechariah 14:7 yet there will be continuous day! Only the LORD knows how this could happen. There will be no normal day and night, for at evening time it will still be light.

LIKE NOTHING EVER 
SEEN ON EARTH

For it will be a unique day - This future "day will be so epoch-making that the prophet describes it in further detail." (Feinberg). The Hebrew for unique is echad which means one. (Echad is also used twice in Zech 14:9 to describe the day and Messiah's name). This day is unique, a "singular day" that has never occurred before, and is beyond human experience or comprehension. We should not be surprised that the day of His return as victorious King of kings should be unique for so too was the day of His first coming when the shepherds keeping watch over their flock by night were startled, Luke recording that... 

And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for TODAY (WHICH I WOULD SUBMIT WAS ALSO A "UNIQUE," ONE OF A KIND DAY IN WORLD HISTORY!) in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Lk 2:9-11-note)

Feinberg on unique - The numeral אחד (echad) is employed in the sense of unique, peculiar, solitary, unparalleled by any other (as in Zech 14:9, Ezekiel 7:5, Song 6:9). 

Which is known to the LORD -  Only He knows when it will come and the full scope of the nature of what its coming will bring about on earth.  This is one of those passages where we cannot be too dogmatic and will simply have to wait to see what the Lord unfolds in that day. It reminds me of the passage in Deuteronomy which says the "secret things belong to the LORD but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.." (Dt 29:29) While God has granted to us everything necessary for life and godliness (2 Pe 1:3), there are things He chooses to keep to Himself. In the meantime our business is to obey what He has clearly revealed to us and to live in the power of the Spirit, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now (we) know in part, but then (we) shall know fully just as (we) also have been fully known." (1 Cor 13:12).

Compare Matthew 24:36  

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."

In Acts 1:7 Luke records Jesus' words to the disciples shortly before His ascension (Acts 1:9-11) writing

"He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority." (See discussion of their question)

McComiskey on known to the LORD - Struggling in symbol to convey the nature of this day, the prophet can only leave its effects in the hands of God. It is known to the Lord and that is sufficient. (Ibid)

Constable explains that "It will evidently be like twilight, neither day nor night (cf. Ge 1:3–5). Even in the evening there will be more light than usual. It would be a unique day in human history (cf. Jer. 30:7). This phenomenon would occur on a day that only Yahweh would know (cf. Mt. 24:36; Acts 1:7). Other passages also predict cosmic phenomena in the Day of the Lord (Isa. 13:9–10; Joel 2:31; 3:15; Amos 5:18; Matt. 24:29–30; Rev. 6:12–14; 8:8–12; 9:1–18; 14:14–20; 16:4, 8–9). Bear in mind that this “day” is an extended period of time, not just a 12-hour or 24-hour period. Here the end of the Tribulation is in view all of which the prophets spoke of as the Day of the Lord along with the Millennium." (Ibid)

MacArthur - As these Jews are fleeing through this newly created valley, the lights in the world will go out (cf. Isa 13:9, 10; 24:23; Joel 2:10; 3:14–16; Mt 24:29, 30; Rev 6:12–14) and be replaced by the light of Christ’s glory (cf. Isa 60:19, 20). Only the Lord knows the fullness of the plan for that day—when the lights go out and are lit again in the millennial kingdom (cf. Is 30:26; Mal 4:2). (Ibid)

HCSB Study Bible - The other worldliness of these events is underscored by the absence of ways to keep track of time.

Holman Old Testament Commentary on neither day nor night - Light from neither the sun, moon, nor stars will appear. Jesus predicted such conditions on earth when he returns: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed her light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the celestial powers will be shaken" (Matt. 24:29HCSB).

Feinberg - The day will be known only to the Lord in its essential character, for it will not be day nor night. It will not be a mixture of day and night, a murky twilight (νυχθήμερον), as Dods has supposed, but will resemble neither. It will not be day, because the natural sources of light will be withdrawn; not night, because of the supernatural light at evening and the glorious presence of the returned Lord. Compare Psalm 97:3–4. Apparently the course of nature is changed, for the day is darkened to night and the evening sees light. In the hour of deepest gloom and blackness God causes the bright light of His deliverance to shine forth for the distressed ones.

It will come about that at evening time there will be light - This day will not have the normal pattern of cycling from light to dark, but will be reversed, so that in evening when dark is expected it will be light. 

Henry Morris - The strange atmospheric phenomena described in Zechariah 14:6,7 may be related in some way to the great earthquake, but may as well be entirely supernatural events properly heralding the personal presence of the Creator. (Defender's Study Bible)

Merrill suggests that 'The imagery here is strikingly reminiscent of that of the Genesis creation account. There is the phrase “one day” (אֶחָד יוֹם, yôm ʾeḥād) common to both, in Genesis referring to the first day of creation (Gen 1:5). But it was precisely at the beginning of that day that there was “no light,” but only chaos. The establishment of order demanded the creation of light, so on that first day, a period of no daytime or nighttime, YHWH created light (v. 3). As a result there was now an evening (עֶרֶב, `ereb) and a morning (בֹּקֶר, bōqer), together making up (and in that order) “one day.” (Ibid)

Klein - The end of the cosmic order known since the original creation manifests both divine judgment and incomprehensible blessing. The absence of light—darkness—signifies judgment in several Old Testament passages (Ezek 32:8; Amos 5:18; Joel 2:2; Zeph 1:15; cf. Isa 5:30; 9:2; 13:10; 42:7; Jer 31:35). The obverse side of the coin exposes profound divine blessing. Isaiah describes how darkness on the eschatological day would provide the occasion for God’s spiritual people to illumine the world. Speaking to Zion, Isaiah wrote, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.… Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (Isa 60:1, 3). On this glorious day, “the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Rom 8:21–22). (Ibid)

NET Note - In the evening there will be light. The normal pattern is that light breaks through in the morning (Gen 1:3) but in the day of the LORD in judgment it would do so in the evening. In a sense the universe will be “de-created” in order to be “recreated.”

Zechariah 14:8  And In that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.

  • And In that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem: Eze 47:1-12 Joe 3:18 Lu 24:47 Joh 4:10,14 7:38 Rev 22:1,2,17 
  • half of them toward the eastern sea, Joe 2:20 
  • it will be in summer as well as in winter: Isa 35:7 41:17,18 49:10 58:11 Rev 7:16,17 

LIVING WATERS 
REFRESH THE LAND

In that day - This is the day that the Lord Jesus Christ returns to establish His Millennial Kingdom. And in keeping with the unusual cosmic features of this day described in Zech 14:6-7 which speak of "recreation," Zechariah now describes perennial flowing waters in a land which is perennially arid. 

When these arid lands are irrigated they will be transformed into a fertile paradise on earth. Zechariah had alluded to this earlier when he wrote

For there will be peace for the seed: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things. (Zechariah 8:12)

MacArthur - The highest elevation of the temple mount in Jerusalem is more than 300 ft. lower than the Mt. of Olives, but the topographical alterations described in Zech 14:4, 10 will allow the spring to flow toward the Dead Sea (E) and the Mediterranean Sea (W) (see notes on Eze 47:1–12). It will not dry up in summer, as most Palestinian streams do, but will flow all year, making the desert “blossom like the crocus” (Isaiah 35:1). (Ibid)

Lindsey writes that "This year-round provision apparently will promote unsurpassed fertility throughout the land (cf. Isa. 27:6; 35:1–3, 6–7; Amos 9:13–14)." (Ibid)

Merrill - Contrary to the normal climatic pattern of Palestine, where the wadis and streams dry up in the summer, this river will flow with its refreshing waters the year round. The Hebrew construction here requires “living” (חַיִּים, ḥayyîm) to function as an adjective and not a genitive noun, so that the idea is not waters that give life but waters that are “alive.” This is a way of describing fast-flowing, sparkling streams that by their constant movement and shifting course appear to be living things. Frequently the term “living water” is translated “running water” (Lev. 14:5, 6, 50, 51, 52; 15:13; Num. 19:17), but in the prophetic literature it is used as a metaphor for YHWH’s blessing (as in our passage) or even for YHWH Himself (Jer. 2:13; 17:13). (Ibid)

PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM
ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!
Play this Doxology

Living waters will flow out of Jerusalem - Ezekiel sees this same phenomenon in conjunction with the inauguration of the Messianic Age (See Ezek 47:1-12 below). Ezekiel declared that it would originate from the temple (Ezek. 47:1).

Feinberg - Water to the Westerner as well as the Easterner means refreshment, productivity, a need without which life cannot continue. There will be life-giving streams....Living waters are those which spring from the ground and last; rain water finds its way to the sea. Compare >Joel 4:18> (Heb); Ezekiel 47:1–12.....The water will flow through all the promised land bound on the east by the Dead Sea and on the west by the Mediterranean. These streams will be full not only in winter, when bodies of water are full everywhere in Palestine, but in summer also, when natural streams are dry in the holy land. The refreshing, abundant waters that God will give will flow perpetually.

HCSB Study Bible - Since water was a premium in Palestine, and Jerusalem was not near a river, the picture of a year-round source of living water flowing from the city with sufficient quantity to reach the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea was inspiring. It would require supernatural redesign of the geography of the region. "Living water" refers to fresh spring water as opposed to water stored in cisterns.

Henry Morris on living waters.  Emerging from a great aquifer beneath Jerusalem and released by the earthquake, two great rivers will flow, one to the Dead Sea, one to the Mediterranean. See the more detailed account of these waters in Ezekiel 47:1-12. There were similar rivers in Eden flowing out from God, and there will also be such in the New Jerusalem (Genesis 2:10-14; Revelation 22:1,2). All of these are literal models of the great spiritual prototype, the living water from Christ Himself (Isaiah 44:3; John 4:14; 7:37-39; Revelation 22:17). (Ibid)

This beautiful phrase, living waters occurs first in Ge 26:19 and then in Lev 14:5,6, 50, 51, 52, 15:13 > running water in Nu 19:17 > flowing water in Song 4:15 > fresh water in Jer 2:13 > living waters, Jer 17:13 > living water Zec 14:8 > living waters from Jerusalem during 1000 year reign of Messiah Ezek 47:1ff. A similar phrase is found in Jn 4:10,11,13,14, 7:37,38, and finally in Rev 7:17, 21:6, 22:1,22:17, the latter Scriptures referring to the New Heaven and New Earth!

Notice that in Jeremiah 17 the picture of living water is applied to God Himself for He is Source of all life...

O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD. (Jer 17:13)

Living Water is a beautiful picture of our Eternal Life  in Christ, the Source of all Life. The picture of living water is especially poignant in the Middle East with hot, dry conditions and paucity of any water at all. Sources of "living water" were even more rare and their discovery was accompanied by considerable rejoicing. How tragic that most of Israel and most of the Gentile world reject His offer of life giving water!

Several passages in the NT parallel with the living waters in Zechariah 13...

Therefore the Samaritan woman *said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11 She *said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? 12 “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” .”  (John 4:9-14-note, John 4:14-note)

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’  But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John  7:38-39-note)

Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.(Rev. 21:6-note)

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. (Rev 22:1-5-note)

Half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea - The eastern sea is the Dead Sea and the western sea (Ezek 47:18, Joel 2:20) is the Mediterranean Sea (Dt 11:24). 

Klein on eastern and western sea - These two bodies of water delineated the latitudinal boundaries of the promised land (Num 34:12; Deut 11:24). Reprising the promised land theme reminded Zechariah’s audience that God will keep his covenant promises to grant the land to his people.

McComiskey notes that 'The ancient Hebrews oriented themselves eastward in determining the points of the compass."

It will be in summer as well as in winter - The flow of water is year round in a land which traditionally is very arid, for normally the streams in Israel are dry in the summer months. These are not occasional rainfalls but perennial fountains which will irrigate and make the land fertile. 

Joel 3:16-18 says

The LORD roars from Zion And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.  17 Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. So Jerusalem will be holy, And strangers will pass through it no more. 18 And in that day The mountains will drip with sweet wine, And the hills will flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah will flow with water; And a spring will go out from the house of the LORD To water the valley of Shittim. 

Ezekiel 47 is a parallel passage...

Then he brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar. 2 He brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate by way of the gate that faces east. And behold, water was trickling from the south side.  3 When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles. 4 Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the loins. 5 Again he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded. 6 He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he brought me back to the bank of the river. 7 Now when I had returned, behold, on the bank of the river there were very many trees on the one side and on the other. 8 Then he said to me, “These waters go out toward the eastern region and go down into the Arabah (JORDAN VALLEY SOUTH OF SEA OF GALILEE INTO DEAD SEA); then they go toward the (DEAD) sea, being made to flow into the (DEAD) sea, and the waters of the sea become fresh (A MIRACULOUS TRANSFORMATION FOR IT IS NORMALLY 6X AS SALTY AS THE SEA .). 9 “It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes (THE DEAD SEA WILL BECOME A "LIVING SEA" AS RESULT OF THE PERENNIAL FLOW OF "LIVING", FRESH WATER). 10 “And it will come about that fishermen will stand beside it; from Engedi (THE WESTERN SIDE OF THE SEA) to Eneglaim (??? NW SHORE OR EASTERN SHORE) there will be a place for the spreading of nets. Their fish will be according to their kinds, like the fish of the Great (MEDITERRANEAN) Sea, very many. 11 “But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. (SALT IS NECESSARY FOR LIFE - ALSO CF Ezek 43:24) 12 (LUSH VEGETATION) “By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the (TEMPLE) sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing (SUGGESTS A RETURN TO "EDEN-LIKE" CONDITIONS - cf Ge 2:8, 9, 16).”  (Eze 47:1-12)

MacArthur explains that "This section reinforces the constant emphasis of the prophets that in the final kingdom amazing physical and geographical changes will occur on the earth, and especially the land of Israel. This chapter deals mainly with changes in the water. A stream of water flows up from underneath the temple (cf. Joel 3:18), going East to the Jordan, then curving South through the Dead Sea area (Ezek 47:7, 8). Zechariah 14:8 refers to this stream as flowing from Jerusalem to the West (Mediterranean Sea) as well as to the East (Dead Sea). Its origin coincides with Christ’s Second Advent arrival on the Mount of Olives (cf. Zec 14:4; Acts 1:11)...creating a vast E-W valley running through Jerusalem and allowing for the water flow.

Charles Dyer - “The Dead Sea today is a symbol of barren desolation. This future change is a visible reminder that God can turn death to life. Our God specializes in changing the unchangeable!”

Charles Feinberg - “All blessings, material and spiritual, will emanate from the presence of the Lord with His people.”

Thomas Constable - This river is similar to two other rivers in the Bible: the river that flowed out of the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:10) and the river that will flow in the New Jerusalem during the eternal state (Rev. 22:1–2; cf. Ps. 46:4; 65:9; Joel 3:18; Zech. 14:8). Like the river in Revelation the one in Ezekiel will flow from the throne of God; He is the source of both rivers. However, there will be a temple in the millennial earth, but there will not be one in the eternal state (Rev. 21:22). The river in Revelation also flowed down the street of the city, but Ezekiel mentioned no city to the east of the temple, just one to its south (45:6). It seems that Ezekiel and John saw two different rivers, but the purpose of both rivers was the same. God will be the source of fertility, blessing, and health in the Millennium and throughout eternity.

Zechariah 14:9  And the LORD will be king over all the earth; In that day the LORD will be [the only] one, and His name [the only] one.

  • the LORD will be king over all the earth - Zec 8:20-23 Ge 49:10 1Sa 2:10 Ps 2:6-8 22:27-31 47:2-9 67:4 Ps 72:8-11,17 86:9 Isa 2:2-4 45:22-25 49:6,7 54:5 60:12-14 Da 2:44,45 7:27 Am 9:12 Mic 4:1-3 5:4 Zep 3:9 Rev 11:15 
  • the LORD will be the only one Eph 4:5,6 
  • and His name the only one Jer 23:6 Mt 1:23 28:19 Eph 3:14,15 

NET  The LORD will then be king over all the earth. In that day the LORD will be seen as one with a single name.

KING JESUS:
NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES

And the LORD will be king over all the earth - The "King of kings" (Rev 19:16-note). The reality of His reigning in the Millennium echoes the songs (psalms) Israel had been singing for centuries. In this glorious day the redeemed remnant of Israel (and all believers) will see the One to Whom their ancestors had sung praises. 

The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved. (Ps 93:1)

The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; Let the many islands be glad. (Ps 97:1)

The LORD reigns, let the peoples tremble; He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake! (Ps 99:1)

If you have time, you might prayerfully read Psalms 95-100 which form a magnificent unit of praise which focused on the future return and triumph of the King of kings when He comes in power and glory to purge the world of wickedness and to reverse the effects of the age-long curse (Ge 3:17-note). The central verse of the six Psalms 95-100 is appropriately Psalm 97:6 which says

The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples have seen His glory. (O Glorious Day!)

In Revelation 19:6 John records 

Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.

Charles Feinberg - When the Son of David sits on the throne of His father David, the Lord will be King over all the earth; the unity and glory of the Lord will be recognized universally. He Alone will be worshiped throughout the universe....The Lord will be King not only in heaven, but recognized as King of earth as well. He will be King not only de jure (by right), but de facto (in fact)....That the Lord will be Sovereign over all the earth is clearly presented to us in Zech 14:16.  Furthermore, we cannot overlook such passages as Isaiah 54:5; Psalm 72:8–11; and Zechariah 9:9, 10. All polytheism will come to an end in that day. The Lord Jesus Christ will be owned and recognized as sole Ruler of the earth. 

Zechariah's words are a fulfillment of the prophecy in Revelation 11

Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” (Rev 11:15-note)

Tony Garland comments - The event is so certain in the sounding of the seventh angel that it is treated as if already past. However, the kingdom will not have arrived in totality until all seven bowl judgments are poured forth (Rev. 16:17+) and the King Himself returns to earth to defeat the armies of the nations (Isa. 63:1-6-commentary; Zec 12:1-9-note; Zech 14:1-8; Rev. 19:11-21-note). That day is described by many passages of which a small sample appears below:

Ps 22:27-28  All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before You.  28 For the kingdom is the LORD’S And He rules over the nations. 

Ps 72:8-11  May he also rule from sea to sea And from the River to the ends of the earth.  9Let the nomads of the desert bow before him, And his enemies lick the dust.  10 Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts.  11 And let all kings bow down before him, All nations serve him. 

Isaiah 9:7-note  There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

Daniel 2:44-note  “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

Daniel 7:14-note  “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

Zechariah 14:9-11 And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.  10 All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. 11 People will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security. 

Luke 1:32-33-note “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

Garland continues - Not one of the above passages finds literal fulfillment in the present day Church as the adherents of Replacement TheologyDominion Theology, and Covenant Theology claim because the sounding of the seventh trumpet remains future to our time. These passages do not speak of an invisible spiritual kingdom, but a visible earthly kingdom—the Millennial Kingdom of Revelation 20:4-6+. See The Arrival of God’s Kingdom

All attempts to equate this glorious reign of Christ over the whole earth with any past event or with the church is utterly foreign and contradictory to the clear eschatological teaching of Scripture, including especially this passage. There is no way this text can be fulfilled except by the universal reign of Jesus Christ over the whole earth—as the prophets had for so long predicted (MacArthur - Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

The LORD will be king over all the earth - (cf. Isa. 2:2–4; Mic. 4:1–3) Notice it does not say King over the New Heaven and New Earth, but over all the earth. This is an earthly kingdom.

ESV Study Bible on the LORD will be king over all the earth (Zec 4:14; 6:5 Mic 4:13b) points to a time that far exceeds the simple idea of a Messiah who will give Israel deliverance from oppression and bring the people God’s presence and blessing, for this predicts a worldwide earthly reign of the Lord Himself. (Bolding mine)

And it will come about in the Last Days That the mountain of the house of the LORD (MOUNT ZION - JERUSALEM - PLACE OF THE THRONE OF THE KING OF KINGS) Will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, And the peoples will stream to it.  2 Many nations (GENTILES) will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem (BECAUSE KING JESUS REIGNS IN THE HOLY CITY).  3 And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations (HOW COULD THIS BE ANYTHING BUT HIS MILLENNIAL REIGN!). Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they train for war. (Micah 4:1-3-note)

F Duane Lindsey - The worldwide scope of His reign is supported by Zechariah’s description of Him elsewhere as “the LORD of all the earth” (Zech 4:14; 6:5; cf. Micah 4:13). This is confirmed by the Apostle John’s identification of Him as the “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Rev. 17:14; 19:16). He has always been the one Lord (Dt. 6:4) in His unique, solitary, incomparable Being (cf. Isa. 37:16; 45:5–6, 14, 18, 22; 46:9). When He establishes His millennial kingdom, He will be universally recognized as such and worshiped as the one true God (Rev. 21:3). With idolatry and false worship cut off from the land (Zec 13:1–2-note)  (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

In that day - The Day of the LORD, specifically in this context refers to when He returns, touches and transforms the Mount of Olives and the total topography of the Promised Land. 

The LORD will be the only one - the only is added by translators so that literally it reads The LORD will be one! The supreme Sovereign of the earth. The "Lord of lords" (Rev 19:16).

HCSB Study Bible - Yahweh alone, and His name alone is the starting point for true faith, the opposite of idolatry

This reminds us of the famous "Shema"...

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is ONE! (echad) 5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. (How are we to get them "on our heart?" = Memorizing His Word, Memory Verses by Topic, Primer on Biblical Meditation) (Deut 6:4-6)

His name the only one (NET = the LORD will be seen as one with a single name.) Again  the only is added by translators so that literally it reads "His name one." It has ALWAYS been the ONE (the "only One") regarding salvation just as Peter declared in Acts 4:12 

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

This parallels the declaration in Zechariah 13:2-note

“It will come about in that day,” declares the LORD of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land.

Henry Morris - No more will men worship the creation rather than the Creator. All will know and obey the one God, our Creator-Savior, through Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:9-11; Ephesians 4:21). (Defender's Study Bible)

W A Criswell - No longer shall there be many world religions or many names for God (cf. Deut. 6:4). (Believer's Study Bible)

The prayer that Jesus taught us as His disciples to pray and which many of us have prayed over the years will come to fruition in this day for His Kingdom will have finally and fully come to earth! 

Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. (Mt. 6:9, 10-note)

Comment: When Jesus was asked by the Pharisees about the Kingdom of God, He answered "behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst (Lk 17:21-see notes for more explanation of the Kingdom of God as expected by the Jews). The Pharisees and most of the Jews (including even His disciples) were expecting that when the Messiah came, He would bring in a political Kingdom. But Jesus countered their belief by explaining that His first coming would make available an "internal," invisible Kingdom in the hearts of all who believed in Him. It would not be until His Second Coming that He would establish His external, visible Kingdom, a Kingdom for which His disciples had been praying for centuries (and unfortunately many not fully understand for what they were praying!). Even after His resurrection and shortly before He ascended (and remembering that last words are always especially significant Luke records that Jesus appeared to His disciples "over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God." (Acts 1:3) And in that context their question is significant "“Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) Even the ESV Study Bible comments that "The disciples...concluded from his resurrection and the promise of the Spirit that the messianic era had dawned and the final salvation of Israel was imminent." Two points are significant - (1) Jesus did not refute their understanding of the restoration of the Kingdom, but their understanding of the timing of that restoration (see Acts 1:7-8) (2) Notice the verb restore which in in Greek verb apokathistemi which means to restore to an earlier condition, to reinstate, to return to a position. They had just asked about the nation of Israel as to when it would be restored to its former position as chief of the nations in the Kingdom of God. Those who hold to the false teaching that the promises to Israel have been replaced by the Church have considerable difficulty with passages like Acts 1:6 (See more detailed discussion of Acts 1:6 and how it relates to Acts 3:19-21 and the Kingdom of God). Why? Because if Israel has been replaced by the Church, this passage would make absolutely no sense and one would think Jesus would have corrected them. In other words, the Church had not even come into existence! How could it be restored to its earlier condition? Clearly it could not be because it did not have an "earlier condition." The disciples' question is referring to the Kingdom being restored to the nation of Israel. This is another peg in the coffin of replacement theology. (See  What is replacement theology / supersessionism?

MacArthur agrees which the comments on Acts 1:6 writing that Jesus' answer in Acts 1:7 (He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;) "shows that the apostles’ expectation of a literal, earthly kingdom mirrored what Christ taught and what the OT predicted. Otherwise, He would have corrected them about such a crucial aspect of His teaching."

John MacArthur - There will be only ONE religion in the entire world during the millennial reign of Christ. Ruling with a rod of iron (cf. Rev 19:15), Christ will have done away with all false religions spawned by Satan. This will be the ultimate fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant providing a Jewish people, the nation of Israel, and the land given to Abraham; the Davidic Covenant which promised a king from the tribe of Judah and the line of David; and the New Covenant which held out the hope of spiritual redemption for Jew and Gentile. All of this will be fulfilled in and by the Lord Jesus Christ. (MacArthur Study Bible)

NET Note - The expression the LORD will be seen as one with a single name is an unmistakable reference to the so-called Shema, the crystallized statement of faith in the LORD as the covenant God of Israel (cf. Dt 6:4–5). Zechariah, however, universalizes the extent of the LORD’s dominion—he will be “king over all the earth.”


Steven Cole -  It will be a thorough defeat-Do not be wrongly aligned!

Zech 14:9: “And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.”

Right now, only a minority of the earth’s population worships God as the only true God, and Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Vast segments of the world are under false religions and beliefs. Most of the world’s Jews reject Jesus as their Messiah. Even in Christendom, millions of people wrongly think that they will get into heaven based on their good works, rather than through faith alone in Jesus Christ and His shed blood. But in that day, when Jesus returns, the whole earth will bow before Him as Lord and King. Satan and his demons will be bound, so as not to deceive the nations (Rev. 20:2-3). Righteousness will prevail on earth.

Granted, some will only feign obedience to Him, while their hearts are still in rebellion (Zech 14:17-19; see Ps. 66:3). At the end of the millennium, Satan and his evil forces will be loosed to stage one final rebellion before he is defeated and thrown into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:7-10). But during His millennial reign, Psalm 2:8-9 will literally be fulfilled. The Father says to the Son, “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth as Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.”

A few years ago, I had a friend who was not able to watch the Super Bowl on the day it was played, so he videotaped it and planned to watch it the next evening. He studiously avoided listening to the radio or looking at any TV or newspapers that would reveal the outcome of the game, because he wanted the suspense of not knowing in advance who won. Suppose that I had watched the game and I offered to bet him a lot of money on the outcome. (Gambling is wrong, but bear with my illustration.) That man would have been crazy to place that bet, because the outcome of the game was certain.

There is no doubt about the outcome of world history: Someday, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11-note). Jesus Christ will be King over all the earth! All of God’s enemies will be thoroughly defeated. Why would anyone want to put, not their money but their eternal destiny, on the losing side? Jesus will reign! Make sure that you are on His side before He comes to judge the earth! So the return of Christ as King means the defeat of His enemies (Zech 14:1-15). (Zechariah 14:1-21 The Triumph of the Coming King)

Zechariah 14:10  All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin's Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king's wine presses.

  • All the land: Zec 4:6,7 Isa 40:3,4 Lu 3:4-6 
  • will be changed into a plain: or, compassed
  • from Geba : Jos 21:17 1Ki 15:22 Isa 10:29 
  • to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: Joshua 15:32 Jud 20:45,47 21:13 1Ch 4:32 6:77 
  • remain on its site: or, shall abide, Zec 2:4 12:6 Jer 30:18 
  • from Benjamin's Gate: 2Ch 25:23 Ne 3:1 12:39 Jer 31:38-40 37:13 38:7

PARADISE LOST BECOMES
PARADISE REGAINED!

All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem - A plain is the word arabah which can mean a steppe or desert plain. So the land around Jerusalem would be flattened on both the north and south sides, with Jerusalem elevated. The mountains that surround Jerusalem today will no longer needed as a defense and thus are made into a plain. While the mountains may disappear the truth in Psalm 125:2 will be even more certain and permanent, the psalmist writing "As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people from this time forth and forever."  As Zechariah says in the next verse "Jerusalem will dwell in security" despite not having mountains, because "'The LORD is there" (Jehovah Shammah - The LORD is There) as Ezekiel declares in last words of his prophecy (Ezek 48:35). 

Feinberg on a plain -  This is inadequate, for the article is emphatic. It denotes the Arabah or el-Ghor, the largest of the plains of Judea, running from Hermon to the Red Sea and known as the deepest depression on the face of the globe.10 All the land will be depressed in order that Jerusalem might be elevated. See Isaiah 2:2 and Micah 4:1.

MacArthur writes Jerusalem will "be exalted above like a solitaire diamond on a ring. Jerusalem, having been rebuilt according to these dimensions, will be exalted in both place and purpose, the prominent royal city containing the Temple of God and the throne of Jesus Christ (cf. Ezekiel 40–48).” (MacArthur Study Bible)

What is Zechariah describing? Is this not a "regeneration" of the land of Israel? Jesus had given a promise in Matthew "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Mt 19:28) Simply stated, Jesus is referring to His earthly, millennial kingdom. John MacArthur adds that "That kingdom will be the rebirth of the world; paradise regained. Those who have been granted a spiritual rebirth at salvation will participate in the rebirth of the earth; the “times of refreshing” (Acts 3:19) and the “period of restoration (ED COMMENT: Restoration speaks of the coming Kingdom of Messiah - it is the Greek word apokatastasis derived from apokathistemi which is the very word used by disciples in their question to Jesus “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” in Acts 1:6-see note below) of all things” (Acts 3:21). It is the kingdom about which Jesus taught the disciples for forty days between His resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:3). In that kingdom, the apostles will “sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” to help you grasp the concept of the coming Kingdom).

Geba -  located approximately six miles north of Jerusalem near the original northern boundary of Judah (1 Sam 13:3). It was a Levitical city of Benjamin. In 2 Ki 23:8 "from Geba to Beersheba; and he (King Josiah) broke down the high places."

Geba is found 18x in 18v...

Jos. 18:24; Jos. 21:17; Jdg. 20:33; 1 Sam. 13:3; 1 Sam. 13:16; 1 Sam. 14:5; 2 Sam. 5:25; 1 Ki. 15:22; 2 Ki. 23:8; 1 Chr. 6:60; 1 Chr. 8:6; 2 Chr. 16:6; Ezr. 2:26; Neh. 7:30; Neh. 11:31; Neh. 12:29; Isa. 10:29; Zech. 14:10

Rimmon south of Jerusalem - There is more than one location named Rimmon, but apparently the Rimmon mentioned in this verse lies some 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem. 

NET Note - Or “like a plain” (similar KJV, NAB, NASB, NCV, NRSV, NLT); or “like a steppe”; cf. CEV “flatlands.” The Hebrew term עֲרָבָה (’aravah) refers to an arid plain or steppe, but can be used specifically as the name of the rift valley running from the Sea of Galilee via the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. The expression from Geba to Rimmon is a way of indicating the extent of all Judah from north (2 Kgs 23:8) to south (Job 15:32; 19:7). Since Geba (Heb. גֶּבַע) means “hill” and Rimmon resembles the word for height (Heb. רָמָה, ramah), this could be a play on words suggesting that all the high country will be made low, like the great Arabah valley.

HCSB Study Bible - Isaiah envisioned Jerusalem to be the highest mountain on the world, with people streaming to it from all over the earth

Isaiah 2:2-3 Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.  3 And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 

Micah 4:1-2  And it will come about in the last days That the mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, And the peoples will stream to it.  2 Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 

Feinberg - The directions given cannot be determined with certainty, but they prove two things: (1) the description must be taken literally (else why the abundance of detail?) and (2) the city will be rebuilt in its former extent. Compare Jeremiah 31:37, 38. Geba was on the northern frontier of Judah, probably Gibeah of Saul (2 Kings 23:8). Rimmon south of Jerusalem is to be distinguished from the Rimmon of Galilee (Josh 19:13) and that in Benjamin (Jdg 20:45–47). The city here designated was on the border of Edom given to Simeon by Judah.

Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site - ("Jerusalem will be raised up and will stay in its own place" = NET; "Jerusalem shall remain aloft on its site" = ESV) The city will be inhabited on its ancient site and will possess its old boundaries. Jerusalem had survived this final "holocaust" and the Holy City would be preserved intact and be elevated. 

Chambers on remain on its site - and have its old boundaries. These, as they are given here, cannot be determined with certainty. (Lange's Commentary)

From Benjamin's Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king's wine presses - "From the Benjamin Gate … on to the Corner Gate marks the northern wall of the city of Jerusalem from east to west. From the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses indicates the extent of Jerusalem from north to south." (NET Note)

Feinberg - The gate of Benjamin was in the north wall, facing the territory of Benjamin (Jer 37:13; 38:7). The first gate is probably the old gate (Neh 3:6). The corner gate was westward of the old gate. Compare 2 Kings 14:13. The winepresses of the king were probably in the royal gardens in the valley southeast of Jerusalem. See 2 Kings 25:4; Jeremiah 39:4; 52:7; and Nehemiah 3:15. 

MacArthur says that the specific "locations of these landmarks would be the equivalent of meaning “all Jerusalem, E to W and N to S.” (MacArthur Study Bible)

Zechariah 14:11 People will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security.

  • there will no longer be a curse: Nu 21:3 Isa 60:18 Jer 31:40 Eze 37:26 Joel 3:17,20 Am 9:15 Rev 21:4 22:3 
  • Jerusalem will dwell in security: or, shall abide, Zec 2:4 8:4,8 Isa 26:1 66:22 Jer 23:5,6 33:15,16 Eze 34:22-29 People will live in it,

People will live in it While people would include all people, Jews and Gentiles, this prophecy applies especially to the redeemed remnant representative of the nation of Israel. 

And there will no longer be a curse Curse is (herem) which can mean something devoted unto divine service, and thus is under a ban. However in this context herem describes a curse. Note that in the context of this verse, one aspect of "a curse" is that Jerusalem would not be secure. And has that not been true throughout this age? Even today, the threat of a suicide bomber in the Holy City is a "real and present danger!" (E.g., from 1989 through 2016 there were a total of 1,769 killed in 171 attacks - albeit not all were in Jerusalem per se. See list of suicide bombings).

Feinberg - Not only will the city have its former bounds but its population will live therein, not to go out as captives or fugitives. They will need to fear no further hostile attacks. There will be no more curse, that complete devoting to destruction when given up by God to a curse. The Vulgate has anathema and the LXX, ἀνάθεμα. The verb is used in the sense of devoting to God what could not be redeemed. Compare Deuteronomy 2:34.

God had prophetically promised Israel if she disobeyed she would experience a curse

"See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse:  the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I am commanding you today;  and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known. (Deut 11:26-28, cf Dt 27:13-26, Dt 28:15-68)

But now Zechariah says there will no longer be a curse. Moses had prophesied that although Israel would disobey and experience a curse, there was coming a day when the curse would be reversed. Zechariah 14:11 alludes to this great day when Jerusalem will no longer be under a curse but under divine blessing...

“So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the LORD your God has banished you (Zechariah 12:10-14-note DESCRIBES THIS FUTURE TIME), 2 and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, 3 then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you (cf Zechariah 13:8-9-note, especially "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.’”). 4 “If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. 5 “The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers (cf at that time Jerusalem will dwell in security). 6 “Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants (see topic Circumcision of the Heart), to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. (Deut 30:1-6-note)

Zechariah had mentioned a curse earlier

Then he said to me, “This is the curse that is going forth over the face of the whole land (OF ISRAEL); surely everyone who steals will be purged away according to the writing on one side (SCROLL HAD LAW WRITTEN ON BOTH SIDES, cp Ex 32:15), and everyone who swears will be purged away according to the writing on the other side (ONE SIN FROM EACH SIDE PROBABLY STOOD FOR ALL THE COMMANDS ON EACH SIDE). (Zech 5:3)

Constable explains no longer be a curse - People would live in millennial Jerusalem. Jerusalem would never again suffer depopulation by being put under the curse (or ban, Heb. herem). Canaanite cities placed under the ban were totally destroyed (Josh. 6:17–18). In other words, the city and those in it would enjoy security because Jerusalem would never again suffer destruction. (Expository Notes)

Jerusalem will dwell in security - (cf Zech 12:6-note) This is a wonderful prophecy, for Jerusalem has been fought over for millennia, but finally in that day when the Prince of Peace rules, there will be permanent peace. 

In Zechariah 2:6 we read

"Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it." No walls were needed for there were no more enemies!

In Zechariah 9:8 we read of God's past and future protection which allows Jerusalem to dwell in security...

But I will camp around My house because of an army, because of him who passes by and returns (FULFILLED IN ALEXANDER THE GREAT); and no oppressor will pass over them anymore (CLEARLY A FUTURE PROPHECY YET TO BE FULFILLED), For now I have seen with My eyes. 

Unger - For their preservation at the time of Alexander and for their future deliverance from every oppressor, Israel is indebted to the providence of God which watched over them for good. (Unger, Merrill F. Zechariah. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963)

Barker - For their preservation at the time of Alexander and for their future deliverance from every oppressor, Israel is indebted to the providence of God which watched over them for good. (For an account of the dream that Alexander had and his consequent sparing of Jerusalem, see Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 11:8:3; 11:8:4 (dream mentioned), 11:8:5) (Barker, Kenneth L. “Zechariah.” In Daniel-Minor Prophets. Vol. 7 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 1985.)

MacArthur - This is the pledge of God’s protection of Jerusalem from Alexander. It came true when, on his way S, Alexander treated Jerusalem with kindness. After having subjugated Egypt, he returned through Palestine again without doing Israel harm. no oppressor will pass over them anymore. The supernatural and lasting protection here promised must anticipate the Second Advent of Messiah, whose coming is the subject through the rest of this message. The transition from Alexander to Christ can be understood in this way: If God can use a pagan king to judge the nations and save Israel, how much more will He use His righteous Messiah? So Zech 9:8 bridges to the final judgment and deliverance of Messiah (Ed: compare the prophecies of the two comings of Christ - first in Zech 9:9 and second in Zech 9:10). (MacArthur Study Bible)

Amos records Jehovah's promise to Israel...

"I will also plant them (NATION OF ISRAEL) on their land, and they will not again be rooted out from their land Which I have given them,” Says the LORD your God." (Amos 9:15)

Comment - Note it is the Sovereign, Omnipotent God Who will accomplish this "planting" which is described here in Zechariah 14:11. 

MacArthur comments - The ultimate fulfillment of God’s land promise to Abraham (cf. Ge 12:7; 15:7; 17:8) will occur during Christ’s millennial reign on earth (cf. Joel 2:26, 27). (MacArthur Study Bible)

Blaising- The LORD will certainly “do these things” (Amos 9:12), for He is the One who had been, was then, and always will be their God. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Moody Bible Commentary - Thus Amos concluded his book of judgment with an emphasis on future hope for Israel. Even though the overall message of Amos’s book was judgment for disobedience, there was ultimate hope that one day the house of David would be restored, leading to the full restoration of the people of Israel. The central implication is that Israel’s entire hope rests on the coming of the future Son of David, the Messiah of Israel, identified in the NT as Jesus of Nazareth.

Wiersbe - Amos ends his prophecy with the wonderful promise that Israel shall be planted, protected, and never again pulled up from her land “says the Lord your God.” Your God! What a great encouragement for the Jews to know that, in spite of their unbelief, their God will be faithful to keep His covenant promises. (Be Concerned)

ESV Study Bible - This final blessing of the people is predicated upon their recognition of their Davidic messiah, something that is yet to occur. See Rom. 11:25–27.

Charles Dyer - “God’s promises for the future are anchor points to keep us stable, and to give us hope in times of personal distress and difficulty. The more we understand what God has promised for the future, the more we can endure our problems today.”

In prophesying of Messiah's Second Coming to take His throne Isaiah wrote

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6)

Security (0983)(betach from batach = to trust) means security, confidence (belief that one is safe and secure - Isa 32:17, Job 24:23, Mic 2:8). In its first occurrence betach emphasizes the status of a city which was certain of not being attacked (Ge 34:25). All three uses in Psalms speak of God enabling us to dwell securely (Ps. 4:8; 16:9; 78:53) Betach is frequently coupled with yashab (to dwell) as here in Zech 14:11 and means to dwell in safety. The Septuagint translates betach in this passage with the adverb pepoithotos which means confidently or securely. 

Warren Wiersbe - The glorious temple will be established by the Branch (Zech 6:12–13), and Christ the King-Priest shall reign in majesty and peace. “Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited” (Zech 14:11) for the first time in history. The glorious living waters will flow out to heal the land (Zech 14:8 and Ezek. 47:1ff). The Gentile nations will worship at Jerusalem (14:16ff), and holiness will characterize the city that Zeph. 3:1 calls “filthy.” The cleansing of Zech 3:1-10 will be a reality, and there will be peace in the world. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps 122:6). For when Jerusalem has peace, there will be peace among all nations. (Wiersbe's Expository Outlines of the OT)


GOD'S PLAN FOR JERUSALEM
FIVE PROPHETIC PEAKS
"O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years.
In the midst of the years make it known.
In wrath remember mercy
"
(Habakkuk 3:2+)

SEGMENTS OF TIME

AT LEAST 2000 YEARS

SEVEN YEARS

1000 YEARS

??? FOREVER
AND EVER
AMEN!
PROPHETIC
PEAK #1

Jerusalem destroyed by Babylon 586 BC
PROPHETIC
PEAK #2

Jerusalem destroyed
by Rome 70 AD
PROPHETIC
PEAK #3

Jerusalem sacked by Gentiles/Saved by Messiah at end of 70th Week
"Jehovah will go forth and fight against those nations" Zec 14:3+
PROPHETIC PEAK #4
Jerusalem surrounded by Nations
at end of 1000 years Re 20:7-10+
No place found for earth & heaven
Re 20:11+
2Pe 3:10+
PEAK #5
New Jerusalem
After all passes away
 

THE CHURCH AGE

Daniel's 70th Wk
Seven Year Period often called "The Tribulation"  (click for chart)

Great Tribulation ends with return of Messiah as King of kings to defeat of Antichrist who is cast into Lake of fire at beginning of 1000 yr reign
Re 19:20+

 

All things new
Re 21:5+

Begins: Pentecost
Ends: Rapture of church
When is Rapture?
Most likely prior to Daniel's 70th Wk
1Th 4:13-18+

Antichrist makes firm
covenant w Israel for 7 years -
Temple rebuilt
Antichrist breaks covenant after 3.5 yr
Da 9:27+

Antichrist desecrates Holy Place in Temple - Abomination of desolation initiates
Mt 24:15+ begins
2 Th 2:3+ 
2 Th 2:4+ 

3.5 yr, 42 mo, 1260 days, time, times, and half a time
Called the
Great Tribulation 
Mt 24:21+
or 
Time of Jacob's Distress
Je 30:7+

Christ reigns from Jerusalem
David reigns over Israel
Saints reign with Christ
Re 20:4-6+
Zec 14:8  living waters will flow out of Jerusalem
Zec 14:9 the LORD will be king over all the earth
Zec 14:10 Jerusalem will rise
Zec 14:11 People will live in... Jerusalem in security. 
Zec 14:16 all the nations... will go up to worship the King and celebrate the Feast of Booths.

Heaven and earth passed away
Re 20:11+

New heavens
and New earth
Re 21:1+

Babylon
605-538 BC
Medo Persia
538-333 BC
Greece
333-63 BC
Rome
63 BC until
ca 476 AD
Revived Roman Empire
(What is it? Can't be dogmatic - many favor European Union when composed of 10 nations)
Messiah Reigns
1000 Years
Great White Throne Jdgmt
Re 20:11-15+

Eternity
Righteousness dwells
2Pe 3:13+

THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES
Begins = Babylon tramples Jerusalem underfoot
Ends =Jesus the Stone crushes Antichrist and all the Gentile powers at end of Daniel's 70th Week Da 2:34-35+, Da 2:44-45+, Re 19:17-21+
Time that parallels Times of Gentiles = This Age - Mt 24:3, 13:39-40,49, 28:20
Next Age = 1000 year reign = Messianic Age = Millennium = Visible Kingdom of God

Satan bound 1000 yr but released & deceives countless Gentiles to rebel one last time against the beloved city - devoured by fire & Satan cast into Lake of fire

Heavens pass away w roar & elements destroyed w intense heat & earth & works burned up

New Jerusalem
Comes down from God
Made ready as a bride adorned for her husband
Re 21:2+

 

THE LAST DAYS
Begins: Jesus' first appearance
He 1:2+, 2Ti 3:1+, 1Pe 1:20+
Ends: Jesus returns
Main point: We are living in the
Last Days

All the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.
Zec 12:1-3+
 I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle
Zec 14:1-3, 12-15+

Everything will be Holy to the LORD
Zec 14:20-21+

Unbelievers cast into Lake of fire
Re 20:15+

 

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, (2 Peter 3:11+)

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless (2 Peter 3:14+)

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14+)

Beloved, what/Who you looking for will determine
what/
Who you are living for!

Zechariah 14:12  Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth.

  • Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples: Zec 14:3 12:9 Ps 110:5,6 Isa 34:1-17 66:15,16 Eze 38:18-22 Eze 39:4-6,17-20 Joe 3:1,2 Mic 4:11-13 5:8,9 7:16,17 Rev 16:1-21 19:17-21 
  • their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet: Lev 26:18,21,24,28 De 28:59 2Ch 21:15,18,19 Ps 90:11 Ac 12:23 Rev 9:5,6 16:10,11,21 17:16 18:6-8 

A PLAGUE FROM
THE LORD

Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem - Keep the context in mind - Chronologically these verses follow verse 3. In other words, this battle return to fill in the more details of the conflict described in Zechariah 14:1-3 and specifically picks up where verse 3 left off describing that the "LORD will go forth and fight"  (Zech 14:3-note). So in keeping with the context of Zech 14:1-3, Zechariah describes the final stages of the fatal campaign of Armageddon when all Israel's enemies would be defeated once and forever. 

The plague mentioned here is reminiscent of the fate of the Gentiles in Zechariah 12

“In that day,” declares the LORD, “I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness. But I will watch over the house of Judah, while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. (Zech 12:4-note)

Isaiah described this day in Isaiah 63:1-6-note, and in verse 6 Jehovah proclaimed His victory

“I trod down the peoples in My anger and made them drunk in My wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.” 

Comment: Compare the figure of the enemy being trampled with Zechariah's description of a divine plague causing flesh to rot! The end of Israel's enemies will not be a pretty scene! There is no mistaking that this picture of the vengeance of Jehovah (cf "day of vengeance" in Isa 63:4) on Israel's enemies which will be poured out at His Second Coming (cf Rev 19:15-note, Rev 19:21-note)

What the Bible teaches - God will...accomplish His fearful vengeance on the enemy. He will send, supernaturally, a plague, He will cause panic to overtake the attackers, and He will use the remnant and empower them to engage in the fight against the enemy, thus completing their total destruction.

Henderson - The representation of the punishment is the most horrible that can be imagined—a living skeleton, rapidly wasting away! (The Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets)

Plague (0834)(maggephah from nagaph = to strike or smite) means a blow, pestilence, defeat, plague, slaughter, plague, pestilence, strike, smite. It always denotes a plague sent by God. Maggephah frequently describes a blow reflecting divine retribution (as in Zech 14:12, 15, 18).  In the first use of maggephah describes the plagues of Egypt intended to pierce Pharaoh's heart (Ex 9:14) ultimately did so in the from of the last plague (Ex 12:23). Memory of that divine judgment on human rebellion was enshrined in the Passover (Ex 12:27), national memory (Josh 24:5), and legal system (cf. Lev 26:17; Dt 28:25). Israel, although constantly warned, went astray repeatedly (e.g. Ex 32:25; Nu 14:42) and ultimately was smitten by God with two exiles (northern kingdom to Assyria in 721 B.C. and southern kingdom to Babylon in 586 B.C. the latter including destruction of the Holy Temple, from which the glory of God had departed (see Glory of God). This rebellion required atonement for this ever present sinfulness (Ex 30:12) and sin (Nu 16:46ff). 

Maggephaph - 26x in 25v - blow(1), calamity(1), plague(19), plagued(1), plagues(1), slaughter(3).

Ex 9:14; Nu 14:37; Nu 16:48; Nu 16:49; Nu 16:50; Nu 25:8; Nu 25:9; Nu 25:18; Nu 26:1; Nu 31:16; 1 Sa 4:17; 1 Sa 6:4; 2 Sa 17:9; 2 Sa 18:7; 2 Sa 24:21; 2 Sa 24:25; 1 Chr. 21:17; 1 Chr. 21:22; 2 Chr. 21:14; Ps. 106:29; Ps. 106:30; Ezek. 24:16; Zech. 14:12; Zech. 14:15; Zech. 14:18

In the last days God's plagues (but root verb - nagaph = to strike or smite, usually divine, fatal or disastrous) will effect repentance on Egypt, Isaiah recording "The LORD will strike Egypt, striking but healing; so they will return to the LORD, and He will respond to them and will heal them." (Isa 19:22)

Their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth - Think about this scene - if the flesh rots, all that is left is the skeleton and without flesh (muscle) to hold it up, it literally falls to the ground! Anyone who has seen Raiders of the Lost Ark recalls a most incredible scene when the Germans open the Ark of the Covenant and their flesh melts (click for a short click of this horrific scene!). Eyes and tongue destroyed making them unable to see or to speak!

Feinberg - Putrefaction and decay will set in while the body is still alive, indeed, still standing—an indication of the frightful suddenness of the visitation. “To strengthen the threat there is added the rotting of the eyes which spied out the nakednesses of the city of God, and of the tongue which blasphemed God and His people (cf. Isa 37:6).”(Keil) 

What the Bible teaches - The description of the effect of the plague is terrible in the extreme and nothing quite like it has been experienced in warfare before, unless one compares it with what happened when atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, in 1945. However, it is not nuclear warfare which will be the means of such terrible suffering, for the victory will be achieved by the power of God alone. The consuming of the enemy here is not the result of any humanly devised scientific invention. It is clear then from the passage that the plague comes from God. The foes of Israel will be destroyed by a living death, the rotting of the body while still alive. How horrible this will be. There will be the corruption of death together with an awful sense of their sin in seeking to overthrow God's people and city. Such will be the character of the plague that those who suffer it and those who witness it will be compelled to own that it is the hand of God in judgment....Why is the tongue singled out? The two different parts of the body mentioned doubtless have a solemn significance. The tongue is the member with which this satanically inspired army will blaspheme God (cf Rev 16:9, 11, 21-note) and His earthly people. God's just punishment will be meted out upon them.

The ESV Study Bible summarizes Zechariah 14:12-21 -  The Nations Humbled and Brought into Submission. After the nations have suffered a gruesome defeat, they will dedicate themselves to worshiping the true God in Jerusalem.

Zechariah 14:13  It will come about in that day that a great panic from the LORD will fall on them; and they will seize one another's hand, and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another.

  • It will come about in that day that a great panic: Zec 12:4 Jdg 7:22 1Sa 14:15-23 2 Ch 20:22-24 Eze 38:21 Rev 17:12-17 

POWERFUL PLAGUE
PERPETUATES PANIC

As noted in Zech 14:12,  in this passage Zechariah continues his "prophetic flashback" (from verse 11) as he goes back to describe the days of the final war against the Gentile nations preceding the unique day (Zechariah 14:4-6,7) which led in turn into the days of restoration (the Messianic Kingdom or Millennial Kingdom) described in Zechariah 14:8-12. 

It will come about in that day that a great panic from the LORD will fall on them - Who would not panic at the sights described in Zechariah 14:12!  So here we see that Jehovah keeping His word to Israel in Dt 7:23 (circa 1410 B.C.) where He promised to "throw them (ISRAEL'S ENEMIES) into great confusion (mehumah) until they are destroyed." And so here in striking the Gentiles arrayed against Israel and Jerusalem He brings great panic on them (from the LORD = direct divine intervention and retribution). This is the ultimate reaping of the curse prophesied in Genesis 12:3 that "the one who curses you I will curse!" Anti-Semitism will be repaid in full (and then some!) in that day, the Day of the LORD. Dear reader, if you have a hint of Anti-Semitism in your heart, let me encourage you to confess it to the LORD God, repent and seek His forgiveness.

Feinberg - The plague is one form of visitation; another is mutual destruction through a supernatural panic. One will prevail over another and lift his hand to strike his friend dead. Compare Zech 12:4; Judges 7:22 (Gideon and the Midianites); 1 Sa 14:16–20 (Jonathan and the Philistines at Michmash); and 2 Chr 20:23 (Jehoshaphat and Ammon, Moab, and Edom).

Panic (04103)(mehumah from hum = to roar, to go wild, to confuse) means tumult, confusion, disquietude, discomfiture. Most of these instances are associated with the judgment of Yahweh. Even Israel was the recipient as prophesied in Dt 28:20 in the section of Blessings and Cursings (cf Ezekiel 7:7). The Lord was against the Philistine city of Ashdod because of the capture of the Ark of the Covenant by these pagans, and the plague of tumors threw the inhabitants of the city into "a panic" or "dismay" (1 Sa 5:9, 11) just as the sight of flesh rotting on skeletons will cause great panic on the Gentiles seeking to annihilate Israel. These aggressors will be the one's annihilated! 

Men bring "turmoil" to themselves foolishly by seeking after wealth, and rejecting the path of wisdom (Pr 15:16). Finally, tumult existed within the city of Samaria because all justice and order had been overthrown by open violence (Amos 3:9).

The Septuagint translates mehumah in Zechariah 14:13 with the noun ekstasis which describes an abnormal state of mind, in this context astonishment and terror.  

Mehumah - 12x in 12v - confusion(5), disturbances(1), panic(2), tumult(1), tumults(1), turmoil(2).

Deuteronomy 7:23 “But the LORD your God will deliver them before you, and will throw them into great confusion until they are destroyed.

Deuteronomy 28:20  "The LORD will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke, in all you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken Me.

1 Samuel 5:9  After they had brought it around, the hand of the LORD was against the city with very great confusion; and He smote the men of the city, both young and old, so that tumors broke out on them.

1 Samuel 5:11  They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines and said, "Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, so that it will not kill us and our people." For there was a deadly confusion throughout the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.

1 Samuel 14:20  Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and came to the battle; and behold, every man's sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion

2 Chronicles 15:5  "In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for many disturbances afflicted  all the inhabitants of the lands.

Proverbs 15:16  Better is a little with the fear of the LORD Than great treasure and turmoil with it.

Isaiah 22:5  For the Lord GOD of hosts has a day of panic, subjugation and confusion In the valley of vision, A breaking down of walls And a crying to the mountain.

Ezekiel 7:7  'Your doom has come to you, O inhabitant of the land. The time has come, the day is near-- tumult rather than joyful  shouting on the mountains.

Ezekiel 22:5  "Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you, you of ill repute, full of turmoil.

Amos 3:9  Proclaim on the citadels in Ashdod and on the citadels in the land of Egypt and say, "Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria and see the great tumults within her and the oppressions in her midst.

Zechariah 14:13  It will come about in that day that a great panic from the LORD will fall on them; and they will seize one another's hand, and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another

And they will seize one another's hand - This is not "hold my hand because I am frightened" but seizing their former associates with a hostile intent as the context of the next phrase (against the hand of another) indicates. The Hebrew word for seize is chazaq which is the same word used by David when he explained to King Saul that when a lion rose up again him and took a lamb from the flock, he "seized him by the beard and struck him and killed him." (1 Sa 17:35). Chazaq is used again to describe the hostile intent in 2 Sa 2:16 = "Each one of them seized his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side." 

We see similar descriptions of internal "implosions" in military forces in Ezek 38:21, 1Sa 14:20, 2Chr 20:23, Hag. 2:22. In Jdg 7:22 we read "the LORD set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army."

And the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another - (cf Ezek 38:21) This is the extreme version of Jesus' prophecy of the last days declaring that "Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold." (Mt 24:12-note) When the LORD was with His people in the OT, a similar pattern was seen. For example (1 Sa 14:20) records "Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and came to the battle (against the Philistines); and behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion (mehumah = "panic" in Zech 14:13)." Samuel goes on to explain that "the LORD delivered Israel that day" (1 Sa 14:23). Indeed in that day of Zechariah 14:1-3, 12-14 it will be Jehovah Who delivers Israel by His direct visible literal supernatural intervention. 

Zechariah 14:14  Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered, gold and silver and garments in great abundance.

  • Judah also will fight at Jerusalem. Zec 10:4,5 12:5-7 
  • and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered, gold and silver and garments in great abundance: 2Ki 7:6-18 2Ch 14:13-15 20:25-27 Isa 23:18 Eze 39:9,10,17-20 
  •  Zec 14:12 

TO THE VICTORS BELONG
THE SPOILS

Judah also will fight at Jerusalem - Some versions like New American Bible actually translate this as "Judah also shall fight against Jerusalem," but in the context of the Anti-Semitic Gentile nations coming against the Holy City to annihilate God's Chosen people, one would hardly see fellow Jews fighting one another. 

Some writers suggest this group of Jews is those who escaped in Zechariah 14:4-5 who are returning to battle the Gentiles that may have survived, but this is not clear from the text.

NET Note adds that "The Hebrew phrase בִּירוּשָׁלָם (birushalam) with the verb נִלְחַם (nilkham, “make war”) would ordinarily suggest that Judah is fighting against Jerusalem (so NAB, CEV). While this could happen accidentally, the context here favors the idea that Judah is fighting alongside Jerusalem against a common enemy. The preposition בְּ (bé), then, should be construed as locative (“at”; cf. KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT)."

The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered, gold and silver and garments in great abundance - This is clearly in the time following Jehovah's defeat of the Gentile forces when the Jews will gather or collect the spoils of war. This is a "divine reversal" of Zechariah 14:1 where "the spoil (was) taken from" Israel by the Gentile forces. 

Charles Feinberg - Oriental armies carried large amounts of gold and silver with them on their march (2 Ch 20:25). Apparel is often mentioned in lists of spoil, because it was an important item of wealth in the East. (Note Jdg 5:30 and 2 Ki 7:15.) (The Minor Prophets)

Zechariah 14:15  So also like this plague will be the plague on the horse, the mule, the camel, the donkey and all the cattle that will be in those camps.

THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
WILL ALSO SUFFER

So also like this plague will be the plague on the horse, the mule, the camel, the donkey and all the cattle that will be in those camps - We see that the animal kingdom  will suffer. Joshua records a similar pattern in the judgment of Achan for his sin of taking goods that were under the ban (prohibited by God from being taken as spoil or booty)...

Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor. (Joshua 7:24)

Recall also God's command to King Saul when they captured the Amalek

‘Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” (1 Sa 15:3)

Feinberg - The beasts are described as suffering the same plague as their owners. Animal creation was involved in man’s judgment at the fall and in the flood. 

The point is that everything connected with those who rebel against God and seek to destroy His people will suffer the same judgment. Woe!

Plague (0834) see maggephah

Zechariah 14:16  Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.

  • it will come about that any who are left of all the nations: Zec 8:20-23 9:7 Isa 60:6-9 66:18-21,23 Joe 2:32 Ac 15:17 Ro 9:23,24 11:5,16,26 Rev 11:13,15-17 
  • will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts: Zec 14:17 Ps 24:7-10 Isa 6:5 Jer 46:18 48:15 51:57 Mal 1:14 Lu 19:38 Joh 1:49 Php 2:9-11 Rev 19:16 
  • and to celebrate the Feast of Booths: Zec 14:18,19 Lev 23:33-36,43 Nu 29:12-38 De 16:13-16 31:10-13 2Ch 7:8-10 8:13 Ezr 3:4 Ne 8:14-18 Ho 12:9 Joh 7:2,37-39 

THE FULFILLMENT OF
THE FEAST OF BOOTHS

Then (at that time; at the time in question, at that point in time, at that moment, on that occasion) - Always pay close attention to this "time sensitive" conjunction, especially in passages like this which are clearly eschatological (prophetic), for this word will give you a clue as to the sequence of events.

It will come about - This phrase begs the question when will this transpire? As discussed below this clearly will be the inception of the true "New Age" not the "Age of Aquarius" that the "New Agers" were deluded into thinking would be coming upon this fallen, Christ rejecting world. This Divine "New Age" will come about not because the world as we know it will experience continual evolution, for the truth is that we are experiencing a moral/ethical devolution, which will climax with a "divine revolution" described in the Revelation of Jesus Christ (Revelation 6-19 which will climax in Revelation 19:11-21). Things will get better to be sure, but before they get better they will get much worse, in fact the worst the world has ever experienced. But believer, take hope, for our Redeemer is strong and He is faithful and His coming is drawing nigh to usher in His "New Age," the Age of the Messiah, the one thousand year Millennial Reign of the Righteous One on earth. The world is "upside down" but will (prayerfully soon) be made "right-side up" by His timely arrival at the end of time (of this present age). And so as Peter would exhort us "Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness" (2 Peter 3:11-note) and "Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless." (2 Pe 3:14-note).

A "REMNANT" AMONG
THE NATIONS

That any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem - Here Zechariah describes what we might call the "Gentile Remnant." In context those left that go up to worship are Gentiles who believe in Messiah and survive the horrors of the rule of the Antichrist. Not all the people in the nations that went against Jerusalem were themselves against Jerusalem but quite to the contrary. In the Gentile Judgment of the Sheep and Goats in Mt 25:31-46 we see the separation is based upon how one treated the Jews and presumably also Gentile converts. For example, “The King will answer and say to them (THE SHEEP ON HIS RIGHT), ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me." (Mt 25:40) And then He will declare in Mt 25:46 "“These (GOATS ON HIS LEFT) will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous (SHEEP ON HIS RIGHT) into eternal life.”

Feinberg makes an interesting point noting that "When the Lord’s judgments are in the earth, the nations learn righteousness....For the remnant of the nations God has promised a rich feast. 

The Prophet Isaiah writes

At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments (The Day of the Lord) The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. (Isaiah 26:9)

(In the Millennium) The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples (INCLUDING THE GENTILE AND JEWISH REMNANTS - AND I BELIEVE ALSO FOR ALL THE BELIEVERS WHO HAVE RETURNED WITH HIM FROM HEAVEN - DOES THIS NOT MAKE YOUR HEART SOAR, EVEN IT IT IS "SORE" TODAY!) on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, And refined, aged wine. (Isaiah 25:6)

Lindsey describes the nations commenting that "After Jerusalem becomes secure and Messiah’s worldwide reign has been established (Zech 14:9–11), then the survivors from all the nations (any who are left of all the nations) will worship annually in Jerusalem. “The survivors” are not the Jewish remnant that had been scattered among “all the nations,” for the Jewish remnant will already have been regathered to the land at the time of the Second Advent. Rather, these survivors are from nonmilitary personnel of those nations whose armies were destroyed by Messiah in the attack on Jerusalem (Zech 14:1–5; cf. Rev. 19:19). The armies in the Campaign of Armageddon will be destroyed, but not the people of the nations they will represent. Furthermore, they will be the survivors of the divine judgment on the Gentile nations who will enter the kingdom of Christ as “sheep,” the “goats” having been barred from entrance into the Millennium (Mt 25:31–46)." (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Related Resources: Judgment of the Sheep and Goats

Will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts - Zechariah has quickly shifted the description from war to worship. Ponder the incredible contrast Zechariah presents in this passage for the Gentiles who came against Jerusalem for destruction now come for worship! Clearly, this indicates that there has been a major spiritual and geo-political transformation. Indeed, Zechariah has taken the reader from terror and false worship of the Antichrist in the last half of the Great Tribulation, to celebration and true worship of  the Christ Who Alone deserves men's worship!

Will go up (05927)(alah; Lxx = anabaino) is used over 800x in the OT and primarily means to ascend, which is true even now of Jerusalem as you ascend a winding road to enter the city. It will be even more true with the transformed topography of the Millennium for around the city all the land will be changed into a plain and Jerusalem will rise (Zech 14:10-note)

This worship of the King is in a sense a fulfillment of the promises to King David that his throne would endure, for the Messiah was of the lineage of David (cf Mt 1:1, 6, 20, 2 Sa 7:13, 16; Luke 1:32-note)

Zechariah previously described the reversal of Gentiles (the anti-Semitism of the old age [the one we are now in] will be replaced by pro-Israel sentiment) in the new age of the Messiah (Hallelujah!)...

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘It will yet be that peoples (GENTILES) will come, even the inhabitants of many cities. 21 ‘The inhabitants of one will go to another, saying, “Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts; I will also go.” 22 So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD.’ 23 Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’(Zech 8:20-23)

MacArthur - Israel restored in millennial glory will be the means of blessing to all the world (cf. Is 2:2–4; Mic 4:1–5). Gentiles from around the world will make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to entreat the Lord. This signifies salvation of people from all over the world during the kingdom, fulfilling Ps 122. In the days in which the Messianic Kingdom on earth is inaugurated (see Joel 3:18), the Jews will truly be God’s messengers as originally intended, and will bring multitudes to Christ. The 10 to 1 ratio represents a vast number of Gentiles who will come (cf. Ge 31:7; Lev 26:26; Nu 14:22; 1 Sa 1:8; Ne 4:12). The Messiah, in the midst of millennial Israel, will be the attraction of the world. People, seeing the Jews so blessed in their kingdom, will demand to go and meet the Savior King. (MacArthur Study Bible)

Guzik - This same word grasp is used for grabbing a snake by the tail (Ex 4:4) or for grabbing a lion by its beard (1 Samuel 17:35). It means to grasp something that you can’t afford to let go of.

Unger - “With the Davidic kingdom established, Israel will be a medium of blessing to the entire globe.”

Feinberg - “The prophecy teaches, then, that Israel will be the means of drawing the nations of the earth to the Lord in the time of the Messiah’s reign of righteousness upon earth.”

Isaiah spoke of this time when believing Gentiles will worship with believing Jews in the glorious Millennium (but it will NOT be a restored Judaism but a new order akin to Eph 2:14)...

Now it will come about that In the last days (see article on The Last Days) The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations (GENTILES) will stream to it.  (Isaiah 2:2-note)

When the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers (GENTILES) will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob. (Isaiah 14:1)

MacArthur - These are Jewish proselytes who join themselves to the nation in the final earthly kingdom of Christ (Ed: That is the Messianic Kingdom).

Guzik - The invitation to Gentiles was precious (The strangers will be joined with them). The regathered and restored Israel would invite Gentiles to receive the goodness of God with them.

Spurgeon - “This promise had a measure of fulfillment when Israel was brought back from Babylon; and still is it true that, when God’s people come to their worst, there is always something better before them.

What the Bible Teaches –  The description of Israel's future national restoration, which follows the description of Babylon's past destruction, is not satisfied by the return of the exiles from Babylon in 536 bc. Verses 1-3 are not satisfactorily explained by events described in Ezra and Nehemiah. Israel did not then "take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors" (v. 2). On their return from Babylon at that time, Israel remained a captive nation (Ezra 9:9, Neh 9:36-37). This passage, however, anticipates the restoration of God's people to their own land, not under the heel of foreign power as in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, but in complete command of their former enemies.

ESV Study Bible - Like Ezekiel before him (Ezek. 46:9-12), Zechariah envisages ongoing festival worship in renewed Israel but broadens this to include those from beyond Israel’s bounds.

Isaiah 26 prophesies of this coming time of worship writing

“Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter, The one that remains faithful.  (Isaiah 26:2)

MacArthur comments - Isaiah envisions the future Jerusalem, where only righteous Israel may enter. The redeemed remnant from other nations will come periodically to worship (Zechariah 14:16–19). (MacArthur Study Bible)

Life Application Study Bible on the the Feast of Booths - This Festival of Shelters is the only festival still appropriate during the Messiah's reign. The Passover was fulfilled in Christ's death; the Day of Atonement, in acceptance of Christ's salvation; the Festival of First Harvest, in his resurrection; and Pentecost, with the arrival of the Holy Spirit. But the Festival of Shelters, a festival of thanksgiving, celebrates the harvest of human souls for the Lord. 

Charles Feinberg on the Feast of Booths - There are many views as to why choice was made of the Feast of Tabernacles, but the most probable is that, speaking of the joys of the ingathering, it will celebrate the gathering of the nations to the Lord and especially His tabernacling among them. [cf. Rev. 7:15–17; 21:3] The millennial feast is the Feast of Tabernacles, because then God will tabernacle with men more fully than ever before in man's long history (God Remembers).

MacArthur - In addition to the Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles, two other feasts will be celebrated in the Millennium, i.e., 1) Feast of the New Year (Ezek 45:18–20) and 2) Passover (Ezek 45:21–25). These feasts are no more efficacious than were the feasts of the Mosaic era or the Lord’s Supper in the church age. They all provided a symbolic anticipation or remembrance of Christ’s unique and once-for-all sacrifice at Calvary. (MacArthur Study Bible)

Constable has an note "The Apostle Peter evidently concluded that the Messianic Kingdom had begun when he saw Jesus transfigured (Luke 9:33-note). He suggested that the disciples make three booths for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. This indicates that the Jews in Jesus’ day associated the feast of Booths with the beginning of Messiah’s Kingdom, the same connection that Zechariah made here."  

Peter was correct in part in his presumption but his timing was more that 2000 years off! As discussed above (see notes) Jesus' disciples were expecting a visible, external, political kingdom, and did not fully grasp that in Jesus' first advent, the Kingdom of God which He would establish in hearts of believers was internal, invisible and spiritual.

To celebrate the Feast of Booths (See Chart of Israel's Feasts below) - This celebration finds its roots in Leviticus 23 where Moses records

Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 34 “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD. 35 ‘On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind. 36 ‘For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work. (Lev 23:33-36-commentary)

The Jewish writings in the Mishnah help us understand something of the prevalent joyful mood and celebratory atmosphere of the Jews in Jerusalem at the time of this great festival…

“The pipes [were played sometimes on] five [days], and [sometimes on] six days. This means, the pipes [music] played on during the water-drawing, which does not supersede either the Sabbath or the festival. They [the sages] said, "He who has not witnessed the rejoicings at the water-drawing, has, throughout the whole of his life, witnessed no [real] rejoicing." (Mishnah Sukkah 5.1)

Andrew Lincoln - In the first century CE (the Feast of Booths) celebrated the completion of the harvest and was associated with God’s guidance of Israel when the people lived in tents during the wilderness experience at the time of the exodus, but it had also become linked with the salvation God would provide at the eschaton (cf. Zech. 14:16-19)… The chief element in the celebration would have been the making of booths, in which the men slept and ate during the first seven days. On these days there was a procession to the Pool of Siloam to gather water and four large menorahs were set up in the court of the women, providing light to enable the celebrants to dance there through the night. Both the water/rain and the light imagery are taken up in the depiction of eschatological salvation in Zech. 14:6–8, 17. Both kinds of imagery would also have been linked with the provision offered by Torah. (The Gospel according to Saint John, Black's New Testament Commentary)

Celebrate (02287)(chagag) means to hold or keep a feast, a pilgrim feast, to celebrate a holy day. Chagag usually refers to the three main pilgrimage-feasts of Israel.

Gilbrant writes that " Chagag is most often used in relation to the three annual pilgrimage festivals. It is used in Lev. 23:39, 41; Num. 29:12; and Deut. 16:15, in relation to the Feast of Tabernacles. In Exo. 12:14, it is used in reference to the Passover, while in Exo. 23:14, it refers to the celebration of all three festivals: Unleavened Bread (and Passover), Harvest (the Feast of Weeks) and Ingathering (the Feast of Tabernacles). The remaining occurrence of the verb in the Pentateuch is Exo. 5:1, where Moses cites a festival celebration as the reason why the Israelites must leave Egypt. The verb Chagag appears four times in the prophetic literature. Nahum used the verb in the imperative, urging Judah to celebrate its festivals with joy, since the nation's enemy Assyria had fallen (Nah. 1:15). Zechariah used the verb three times in reference to the Festival of Tabernacles (Zech. 14:16, 18f). Here he envisioned the messianic future when God's nation would overcome its enemies and all peoples would journey to Jerusalem in order to worship the Messiah and keep the Feast of Tabernacles. There remain two occurrences of the verb Chagag where the meaning is disputed. The first is 1 Sam. 30:16, where some have translated the verb "to dance." The context of the passage begins with an Amalekite raid through parts of Judah, including David's stronghold of Ziklag. During this raid, the Amalekites carried off a great deal of plunder as well as David's two wives. By the time David and his men had discovered what had happened, the Amalekites were gone. However, a young Egyptian slave owned by one of the Amalekites told David where their forces were encamped. Upon arrival, David found the Amalekites "eating," "drinking" and "celebrating" (Chagag). It is true that dancing was an activity by which military victories were celebrated in the OT (Exo. 15:20ff; Judg. 11:34; 1 Sam. 18:6; 21:11; 29:5), but it is worth noting that women usually performed the dances, not the victorious combatants. The most natural understanding of Chagag in this passage is "celebrating festively." The other instance where "dancing" has been suggested as relevant is in Ps. 107:27. The context of this passage is a poetic description of sailors in ships as the sea tosses them about in a storm. In this passage, two other phrases are used in parallel with Chagag: "they reel like a drunken man" and "all become confused." The usual translation is "to reel" or "to reel to and fro."  (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Weber Most often the verb is used specifically for the celebration of one of the three main pilgrim-feasts (Ex 23:14), the Passover together with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks or Harvest of Firstfruits, and the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) or Feast of Ingathering. The Passover, instituted at the Exodus (Exodus 12), commemorated God's sparing the Israelites when the first-born of Egypt died. It was the fourteenth day of the first month (Abib or Nisan, about April). It was followed on the fifteenth day by the Feast of Unleavened Bread which was held for a week with a special feast on the final day (Ex 13:3-10; Lev 23:4-8; Dt. 16:1-8). The two are usually considered as one feast. By this feast Israel not only expressed heartfelt joy for the Lord's deliverance, but was reminded of its devotion to the Law (Ex 13:9). The Feast of Weeks or Harvest of Firstfruits later known as Pentecost because it was held fifty days after the first day of Unleavened Bread (fifteenth day of Nisan), although properly fifty days after the waving of the sheaf of the firstfruits (which was done on a Sabbath, therefore Pentecost fell on Sunday) (Lev 23:9-21), done at the beginning of the harvest (Dt. 16:9-11). The feast, then, commemorated the first fifty days of harvest. The Feast of Ingathering was held for a week starting the fifteenth day of the seventh month (Ethanim or Tishri, about October) to celebrate the end of the harvest period (Exodus 23:16). This was in conjunction with the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) or Succoth which commemorated the time when the children of Israel lived in tents. For a week all native Israelites were to live in booths to remind them of a different era (Leviticus 23:33-43; Deut. 16:13). The two feasts were considered one, and with the Day of Atonement and New Year's the seventh month was especially feastive. Today it is called the time of the high holy days. The verb is used more generally in Psalm 42:4 [H 5] and Nahum 2:1, but the reference is probably to one or all of the above feasts. It is also used by Moses in his request to Pharoah that the children of Israel might leave to hold a feast. David found his enemies, the Amalekites, "spread abroad . . . eating and drinking and feasting" (1 Samuel 30:16), that is, they were acting as if they were holding a feast. The ASV and RSV translate "dancing." More difficult to translate is Psalm 107:27. The context pictures sailors on a storm-tossed ship, staggering like drunken men. A parallel to staggering in this context would hardly be feasting, but the actions of one feasting or dancing at a feast might be descriptive of the sailors, hence the translation "reel (to and fro)." (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament) 

Chagag - 16x in 14v -  celebrate(9), celebrate a feast(3), dancing(1), keeping festival(1), observe(1), reeled(1).

.Exod. 5:1; Exod. 12:14; Exod. 23:14; Lev. 23:39; Lev. 23:41; Nu 29:12; Deut. 16:15; 1 Sam. 30:16; Ps. 42:4; Ps. 107:27; Nah. 1:15; Zech. 14:16; Zech. 14:18; Zech. 14:19

MacArthur summarizes the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles writing that it commemorated "the time when God “tabernacled” with Israel in the wilderness, the feast represented the last of the 3 major pilgrimage festivals (Lev 23:34–36-note), marked the final harvest of the year’s crops, and provided a time of rejoicing. In the Millennium, it will celebrate Messiah’s presence again dwelling among His people and the joyful restoration of Israel, including the ingathering of the nations. Those who refuse to go will experience drought and plague. Tragically, as the thousand years go on, there will be many people from all over the world who will reject Christ as Savior and King, joining in a final war against Him, only to be destroyed and cast into hell forever (cf. Rev 20:7–15-note). (MacArthur Study Bible)

Feinberg - The Feast of Tabernacles is the feast of the millennial age. It was the feast of ingathering and rest, of joy, praise, and thanksgiving (Ex 23:16 and Ex 34:2). The other two annual feasts, Passover and Pentecost, are not mentioned, because their antitypes have been fulfilled. The Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated on the return of Israel from exile. (See Neh 8:14-18.) It is preeminently the feast of joy after the ingathering of the harvest. (Cp. Rev 7:9-note = "a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands") When the millennial day dawns, all other feasts will have been fulfilled by their antitypes. Now the Feast of Tabernacles finds its antitype. If any of the families of the earth refuse to go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, then rain will be withheld from their land as punishment (The Minor Prophets).

Booths (05521)(sukkah from sakak = to weave together) meant a shelter, a hut, a booth or a thicket. Sukkah described temporary shelters for animals (Ge 33:17), soldiers (2Sa 11:11), prophets (Jonah 4:5). In Lev 23:42-43 it refers to the booths constructed for the harvest feast, the Feast of Booths (Hebrew transliterated = hag [feast] hassukkot), which was held in the Fall (15th of Tishri - late Sept to Oct - see table for the Seven Great Feasts of Israel)

The Septuagint translates sukkah in Zech 14:15 with the noun okenopegia which is used in John 7:2 and is a technical term in Judaism for pitching or erecting a tent or booth and refers to the annual religious festival Feast of Tabernacles, Festival of Booths, Celebration of Tents, Sukkot (Wikipedia). 

The Feast of Booths is often referred to as “the feast/festival” (without using the word "Booths" or "Tabernacles") (1Ki 8:2, 65, 12:32, 2Chr 5:3. 7:8, Neh 8:14, 18, Ezek 45:25.) The dedication of Solomon’s temple took place during the time of this festival and so it points to the importance of this feast (1 Kgs 8:2, 65–66). The location of the feast is now “at the place the LORD will choose,” and this probably indicates the centralizing of Israelite worship in the Jerusalem temple (Deut 16:15).

TWOT - Most commonly, (sukkah) is used in connection with the Feast of Tabernacles. Once a year the Israelite left his home to tabernacle in a “booth,” made from tree branches (Lev 23:34ff.). The feast marked not only the joy and thankfulness of a grateful people for God’s provision at the end of the agricultural season (Lev 23:39–41), but was to be a perpetual reminder (Deut 16:13ff.) to the people of God’s care for his own whom he had rescued from Egypt during those long years in the wilderness (Lev 23:42–43). The feast was closed by a day of rest, featured by a holy convocation, marking not only the climax of the religious year but symbolizing the rest of the believer in his God (Lev 23:39). Prophetically, the feast finds final fulfillment in that grand day when God will raise up the fallen booth of David (Amos 9:11) and give shelter to his repentant, redeemed, and re-gathered people (Isa 4:6). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

TWOT on the derivation of sukkah - The basic meaning of the root (of sukkah) is that of blocking, or stopping up something… This important root is productive in both a physical and figurative sense, particularly with the idea of “covering.” In the former sense, it was frequently used in the building activities relative to the sacred places of worship. The cherubim’s wings were to cover the mercy seat in the tabernacle (Ex 37:9) and the temple (I Chr 28:18). A veil screened off the ark and the mercy seat which were located within the holy of holies (Ex 40:3, 21). The participial form yields the denominative sōkēk, a covering erected to protect besiegers from the defenders’ missiles (Nah 2:5 [H 6]).In a figurative sense, it pictures God’s protection for the one who comes to him for refuge (Ps 5:11; cf. Ps 91:4; 140:7).

The Septuagint often translates sukkah with the noun skene which described temporary, easily moved lodging places (tents, booths) for nomads. It is fascinating that this same word (skene) describes our "eternal dwellings (skene)." (Lk 16:9). Skene was also used to describe the "portable sanctuary," the Tabernacle (Ex 27:21, 29:4, Lev 1:1, Heb 8:5)

Sukkah - 29v - booth(1), Booths(9), booths(8), canopies(1), canopy(1), hut(1), lair(1), pavilion(1), shelter(4), temporary shelters(3).

Ge 33:17; Lev 23:34, 42-43; Deut 16:13, 16; 31:10; 2 Sam 11:11; 22:12; 1Kgs 20:12, 16; 2Chr 8:13; Ezra 3:4; Neh 8:14-17; Job 27:18; 36:29; 38:40; Ps 18:11; 31:20; Isa 1:8; 4:6; Amos 9:11; Jonah 4:5; Zech 14:16, 18-19 

The following Scriptures use sukkah in the context of the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles - Lev 23:34, 42-43, Kt 16:13, 16, 31:10, Ezra 3:4, Neh 8:14-17 and in the Millennial (see descriptions of this glorious time) reign of Messiah - Zech 14:16, 18-19.

The first use in Genesis 33:17 is interesting as the related proper noun Succoth is used twice - "Jacob journeyed to Succoth (derived from sakak), and built for himself a house and made booths (sukkah derived from sakak) for his livestock; therefore the place is named Succoth."

In Psalm 31:20 we see God's promised protection for the righteous - "You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man. You keep them secretly in a shelter (sukkah; Lxx = skene) from the strife of tongues."

Isaiah uses sukkah to describe the time of Messiah's reign on earth (Isa 4:1-5-see discussion of "in that day") when He promises that "There will be a shelter (tabernacle - sukkah) to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain." (Isaiah 4:6-see note) In Amos, Jehovah uses sukkah to describe the time in the Millennium when "I will raise up the fallen booth (sukkah) of David, and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old." (Amos 9:11 - note the abrupt change of emphasis from Amos 9:10 from doom to hope! Prophecy of destruction gives way to prophecy of restoration for Israel [Amos is not speaking of the Church but the nation of Israel!] - cp Acts 15:15-17) John MacArthur writing on Amos 9:11-15 notes that "Millennial blessings await the final faithful remnant, when Messiah personally reigns over all nations in Jerusalem upon the throne of David, and the Jews are never again pulled up from their divinely inherited land." (Study Bible)

Abridged Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon on sukkah - thicket, booth (prop. of interwoven boughs) — 1. thicket, lurking-place of lions (cf. [סֹךְ] 1). 2. booth, crude or temporary shelter, for cattle (distinct fr. בַּיִת), but also for warriors in the field; for watchers in vineyards (sim.) (sim. of frailty), for man’s shelter from sun; poet. of fallen house (dynasty) of David; of clouds as (temporary) enclosure of ˊי‍ in storm. 3. specif. of booths, made of boughs, in which people lived at harvest-feast, hence called חַג הַסֻּכוֹת.,

Holladay on sukkah - 1. thicket, as lion’s den Job 38:40;—2. hut made of branches & mats: a) in vineyard Isa 1:8, shelter fm. sun Isa4:6; for cattle Gen 33:17, travelers Lev 23:43, military camp 2Sa 11:11; metaphorically for those fearing God Ps 31:20; David’s empire = Am 9:11; b) ag hassukkôt, feast of huts (trad. transl.: of booths, or of tabernacles) Lv 23:34

NET Note - Having imposed his sovereignty over the earth following the Battle of Armageddon, the LORD will receive homage and tribute from all who survive from all the nations. The Feast of Tabernacles was especially associated with covenant institution and renewal so it will be appropriate for all people to acknowledge that they are vassals to the LORD at that time (cf. Deut 31:9–13; Neh 8:12–18; 9:1–38).


Steven Cole - The return of Christ as King will mean the establishing of His righteous kingdom over all the earth (Zech 14:16-21, 8, 9, 11). Let’s face it, righteousness or holiness doesn’t get good press in our day. Even to the Lord’s people, it may not sound too exciting or fun. But our text reveals three reasons why you will enjoy and should look forward to the day when Christ rules the earth in righteousness.

A. A righteous reign means refreshment, peace, and joy for those who submit to Jesus Christ (Zech 14:8, 11, 16).
*Refreshment-living waters, year round (14:8). While the river that will flow out of Jerusalem is literal, it has a spiritual significance. In that hot, desert climate, the picture of an abundant river, flowing all year, meant refreshment. Imagine hiking in Phoenix in the summer. You’re parched and about to faint when you come to a clear, cold stream of pure water. Ahh!

Holiness or righteousness is like that. Sin not only defiles us, it is like a disease that slowly destroys us. God’s Word cleanses us and renews us. Jesus’ righteous reign will be refreshing!

*Peace-security (Zech 14:11). When righteousness reigns, people dwell securely. They do not need to lock their doors in fear of intruders. They do not have to worry about their children being abducted on the streets. They do not fear terrorists or foreign armies invading their cities.

*Joy-the Feast of Booths (Zech 14:16). The Feast of Booths was the last of the feasts in the Jewish calendar year. It commemorated when Israel lived in temporary shelters after their deliverance from Egypt (Lev. 23:33-44). It was also a feast of ingathering, or harvest (Deut. 16:13-15). Thus was a joyous celebration (Lev. 23:40; Deut. 16:15) of God’s salvation and provision for His people. On the last day of this feast, the Jewish priests would leave the temple, go to the Pool of Siloam, draw water, and carry it back to the sanctuary. They would pour it out while the worshipers recited Isaiah 12:3, “You will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.” One day as they completed this ritual, a young man stepped forward and cried out loudly, “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’” (John 7:37-38). When that speaker, the Lord Jesus, reigns in holiness in your heart, His Holy Spirit, the living water, will fill you with refreshment, joy, and peace.

B.    A righteous reign means punishment on those who refuse to submit to Christ (Zech 14:17-19).

There will be justice on earth when Jesus rules with a rod of iron. We do not know for certain why Egypt is singled out here from other nations. Perhaps because of Egypt’s historic oppression of Israel, they are mentioned here to show both God’s kindness (in that they are included in the millennium at all) and His severity (in that He will judge all that do not submit to Him). The punishment on those nations that do not submit to Christ will be drought or no rain. While this will be literal, it obviously has spiritual ramifications. Those who do not submit their lives to Jesus and know the joy of His salvation will experience dryness and famine in the soul.  (Zechariah 14:1-21 The Triumph of the Coming King)

THE SEVEN GREAT
FEASTS OF ISRAEL

1st Month = Nisan
Festival of Passover
(Pesach)

3rd Month = Sivan
Feast of Pentecost

I
N
T
E
R
L
U
D
E

7th Month = Tishri
Festival of Booths
(Tabernacles)
(Sukkot)

Passover
Pesach

Unleavened
Bread

First
Fruits

Feast
of Weeks

Feast
of Trumpets

Day of
Atonement

Feast
of Booths

Lamb's blood on Door
Ex 12:6-7

Purging Leaven (Sin)

Wave Offering (Promise of Harvest to come)

Wave Offering of two loaves of leavened bread (promise of harvest to come)

Trumpet Blown - A Holy Convocation

Atonement shall be made to cleanse you
Lev 16:30

Celebrates harvest, memorial of God's care in wilderness

1st Month, 14th Day
Lev 23:5

1st Month, 15th Day
Lev 23:6-8
(1st & 8th are Sabbath)

Day after Sabbath
Lev 23:9-14

50 Days after first fruits
Lev 23:14-21

7th Month, 1st Day
Lev 23:23-25
(A Sabbath)

7th Month, 10th Day
Lev 23:26-32
(A Sabbath)

7th Mo, 15th Day
7 Days;
Convocation on 8th Day Lev 23:33-44
(1st & 8th are Sabbath)

Christ our Passover has been sacrificed

Clean out the old leaven… just as you are in fact unleavened

Christ has been raised… the first fruits

Promise of the Spirit, Mystery of Church - Jews and Gentiles in one body

Regathering of Israel before final day of atonement
Jer 32:37-41

Israel repents and looks to Christ in one day
Zech 3:9-10, 12:10, 13:1, 14:9

All families come to Jerusalem for Feast of Booths
Zech 14:16-19

1Cor 5:7

1Cor 5:7-8

1Cor 15:20-23

Acts 2:1-47
1Cor 2:13
Eph 2:11-12

 

Ezekiel 36:24

Ezekiel 36:25-27
Heb 9-10
Ro 11:25-29

Ezek 36:28

Zechariah 14:17  And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.

  • And it will be that whichever: Ps 2:8-12 110:5,6 Isa 45:23 60:12 Jer 10:25 Ro 14:10,11 
  • the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King: Ge 10:32 12:3 28:14 Am 3:2 Ac 17:26,27 
  • there will be no rain on them.: De 11:17 28:23,24 1Ki 8:35 17:1 2Ch 6:26 7:13 Isa 5:6 Jer 14:4,22 Am 4:7,8 Jas 5:17 Rev 11:6 

NO WORSHIP
NO RAIN!

And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts - The King is clearly Jesus and He is ruling and reigning visibly and literally in Jerusalem in the Millennium. How could an amillennialist possibly understand the plain teaching of this verse? The only way would be to totally spiritualize the passage, which goes against all rules of good hermeneutics. If the plain sense of a passage makes good sense in context then seek to make no other sense or it may end up being nonsense!

Feinberg adds that "Zec 14:17 reveals that the millennial conditions will not approximate conditions in the eternal state, because multitudes will give only feigned submission to the King Jehovah. Note the last verb in the Hebrew of Psalm 66:3. Just as Israel had been threatened with cessation of rain in times of apostasy (Deut 11:16, 17 and 1 Kings 17:1ff), so the nations will be warned of the same punishment. The need for rain shows that the millennial earth is not the new earth of the eternal state." (Bolding added)

Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will give feigned obedience to You. (Ps 66:3)

Comment: The verb feigned (kachash) is usually used in the context of lying. TDOT says it "denotes the disguising, concealment, or denial of a given situation contrary to better knowledge" (TDOT 7:133). The prominent idea is that of dealing falsely with someone. The Septuagint translates kachash with pseudomai meaning to lie, deceive or tell a falsehood. There will be "feigned obedience" (i.e., to lie) from some of the Gentiles in the Millennial reign. 

Whichever...does not go up...to worship the King - Notice that in the Millennium God still allows self-will and in this case they exert willful disobedience. We know from other texts that at the Second Coming and institution of the Millennial reign all individuals who are physically alive and regenerated by the Spirit will be allowed into the Kingdom. But even though they are born again, like we who are born again, they are still capable of willful sin. In addition, this could possibly refer to the children of those who enter the Kingdom, for they will not necessarily be born again. We know that is the case by their willingness to gather at the end of the 1000 years under Satan who leads an unsuccessful rebellion against the Holy City (see Rev 20:7-10-note).

Note the verb go up (Lxx = anabaino = climb up or ascend) indicates that despite all the topographical changes in the land, the Holy City of Jerusalem will still be elevated as described in (Zech 14:10-note). The King was lifted up. 

Failure to worship the King would result in the King becoming the Judge. 

Barker has an interesting note in regard to the titles of Messiah writing "“Zechariah portrays the Messiah as the complete and perfect King by applying all six royal functions [of ancient Near Eastern kingship] to him... (1) mediating Servant (Zech 3:8); (2) Priest (Zech 6:13); (3) Judge (Zech 14:16–19); (4) Warrior (Zech 10:4; 14:3–4); (5) Shepherd (Zech 11:8–9; 13:7); and (6) ‘Peace’-bringing King (Zech 3:10; Zech 9:9–10).” (Ibid)

Worship (bow down, prostrate) (07812)(shachah) means to bow down, to prostrate oneself, to crouch, to fall down, to humbly beseech, to do reverence, to worship. The idea is to assume a prostrate position as would in paying homage to royalty (Ge 43:28) or to God (Ge 24:26, Ps 95:6).

The Septuagint translates shachah in Zech 14:17 with the verb proskuneo (from pros = before + kuneo = kiss or adore) means to prostrate oneself in homage before another in the full sense of worship, not mere reverence or courtesy. 

It is interesting to read the comments from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's commentary published in 1871 because many who do not accept the Millennium say it is a "modern" invention of dispensationalists. Here is their comment...

No rain - including every calamity which usually follows in the East from want of rain, namely, scarcity of provisions, famine, pestilence, &c. Rain is the symbol also of God’s favor (Ho 6:3). That there shall be unconverted men under the millennium appears from the outbreak of Gog and Magog at the end of it (Rev 20:7–9); but they, like Satan their master, shall be restrained during the thousand years. Note, too, from this verse that the Gentiles shall come up to Jerusalem, rather than the Jews go as missionaries to the Gentiles (Is 2:2; Mic 5:7). (ED COMMENT - THESE OLDER EXPOSITORS WERE NOT DISPENSATIONALISTS BUT WERE MEN WHO READ THE PLAIN SENSE OF THE TEXT, INTERPRETING IT LITERALLY AND NOT ALLEGORICALLY! SEE THE Rise of Allegorical Interpretation)

There will be no rain on them - Disobedience brings drought, literally in this case but clearly applies to every saint's spiritual life. Are you experiencing a time of dryness in your walk with the Lord? Perhaps you might want to consider David's prayer in Psalm 139:23-24. Or if you are really brave [or desperate!] you could try a similar plea in "triplicate" = "Examine me, O LORD, and try me; Test my mind and my heart." Ps 26:2!) 

Moody Bible Commentary makes a very important point for all who reject a literal interpretation of prophetic passages like Zechariah 14...

That there will exist nations that could potentially rebel and thus face judgment, and that they will also need rain, demonstrates that Zechariah is describing the messianic kingdom (or millennium), not the eternal state (compare with the conditions described in Rev 21:1–22:21).

In Deuteronomy 28 drought was a punishment for Israel's disobedience but now that same punishment is applied to disobedience of the Gentile nations in the Millennium.

he heaven which is over your head shall be bronze and the earth which is under you, iron. The LORD will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed. (Deuteronomy 28:23-24)

Jon Courson comments that "The nations who don't have time to worship will experience drought. People today who don't make time to worship will experience a dryness in their souls." (Jon Courson's Application Commentary)

HCSB Study Bible - Along with the promises of God's blessings comes a reminder that humans may choose a path that will lead them away from what God offers. Rain will not fall on them is stock language of judgment.

Zechariah 14:18  If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.

  • no rain will fall on them, Dt 11:10,11 

EGYPT EARMARKED 
FOR MORE PLAGUES!

If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them - Note the words "rain will fall" are added in most translations because of the mention of rain in the immediately preceding context (Zech 14:17) Note that the nation of Egypt currently receives only 0.79 -7.87 inches of rain yearly and that is predominantly along the narrow Mediterranean coast, but in the regions south of Cairo, the average drops to nearly zero in the central and southern areas. The text does not allow us to say whether the central and southern districts will receive some rain and/or more normal amounts of rain in the Millennium when the conditions on earth have been significantly changed and restored, but presumably they will receive rain. Otherwise they could hardly be punished by the threat of a drought for disobedience!

Feinberg - Keil and others think Egypt is individualized in verse 18 because it showed in ancient times the greatest hostility to the Lord and His people, and yet will enjoy the blessings of salvation given to Israel. See Isaiah 19:19ff. Probably Egypt is designated because, though it was dependent upon rains to fill the lakes which empty into the Nile, it would appear to be less dependent upon a balanced arrangement of rainfall (as in Palestine), and hence appear to be untouched by the warning of withholding of rain for disobedience. The statement of Hecataeus, the geographer, which was first repeated by Herodotus was: “Egypt is a gift of the Nile.”13 Breasted well described the conditions in Egypt thus: “While the climate of the country is not rainless, yet the rare showers of the south, often separated by intervals of years, and even the more frequent rains of the Delta, are totally insufficient to maintain the processes of agriculture. The marvellous productivity of the Egyptian soil is due to the annual inundation of the river, which is caused by the melting of the snows, and by the spring rains at the sources of the Blue Nile. Freighted with the rich loam of the Abyssinian highlands, the rushing waters of the spring freshet hurry down the Nubian valley, and a slight rise is discernible at the first cataract in the early part of June. The flood swells rapidly and steadily, and although the increase is usually interrupted for nearly a month from the end of September on, it is usually resumed again, and the maximum level continues until the end of October or into November.”14 For Egypt, then, there will be punishment too, namely, the plague.

It will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths - The word plague should strike terror in the hearts of Egyptians who have any knowledge of the events of Exodus! The word plague occurs in Zech 14:12, 15 but the context of those passages is prior to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom and therefore would not seem to be the same plagues with which Jehovah smites the nations. 

Plague (0834) see maggephah

Booths (05521) See sukkah

Zechariah 14:19 This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.

  • This will be the punishment, Joh 3:19 

This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of BoothsThe fact that Egypt is singled out suggests that the world's countries will retain their national identity during the Millennium.

Punishment (02403) is the Hebrew word chattat/chattath which is most often translated sin or sin offering and thus speaks of the results of sin, Egypt and all the other nations that disobey Jehovah. As Moses writes in the book of Numbers...

“But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin (chattat/chattath) will find you out.(Numbers 32:23)

Feinberg links "punishment" and "sin" noting that "There is an inseparable connection between sin and its punishment." 

Booths (05521) See sukkah

Zechariah 14:20 In that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, "HOLY TO THE LORD." And the cooking pots in the LORD'S house will be like the bowls before the altar.

  • there will be inscribed: Pr 21:3,4 Isa 23:18 Ob 1:17 Zep 2:11 Mal 1:11 Lu 11:41 Ac 10:15 Ac 10:28 11:9 15:9 Ro 14:17,18 Col 3:17,22-24 Tit 1:15,16 1Pe 4:11 
  • on the bells of the horses, Ex 28:33-35 
  • HOLY TO THE LORD: Ex 28:36 39:30 Lev 8:9 Ps 110:3 1Co 3:16,17 1Pe 2:5,9 Rev 1:6 Rev 5:10 20:6 
  • And the cooking pots in the LORD'S house: Lev 6:28 1Sa 2:14 Eze 46:20-24 
  • will be like the bowls before the altar.: Zec 9:15 Ex 25:29 37:16 Nu 4:7,14 7:13,19,84,85 2Ch 4:8

EVERYTHING "CRIES"
HOLY TO THE LORD!

Hebrew Christian writer Charles Feinberg writes that "The last two verses of the prophecy may well close not only this book but the whole history of Israel, for it shows God’s original purpose in Israel fulfilled (Ex 19:6). The heart of Zechariah must have thrilled as he penned the words." (ED: AS MUST HAVE DR FEINBERG'S HEART AS HE WROTE HIS COMMENTS! INDEED, DEAR BELIEVER, MAY THESE WORDS CAUSE OUR HEARTS TO REJOICE FOR THE EVIL THAT SEEMS TO PREVAIL IN OUR DAY WILL NOT PREVAIL IN THE DAY OF THE LORD! HallelujahAmen!) When all is cleansed and holy in Jerusalem and among God’s people Israel, there will be no need for distinctions of holy and secular, and differences between holy and more holy. Sin brought in such necessary distinctions, but with the removal of all sin all will alike be holy. There will be holiness in public life (bells of the horses), in religious life (vessels of the Lord’s house), and all private life (every vessel in Jerusalem and Judah).

In that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, "HOLY TO THE LORD."  - What a contrast will be the environs of the city of Jerusalem compared to Zephaniah's description

 Woe to her (JERUSALEM) who is rebellious and defiled ("FILTHY"), The tyrannical city!  (Zephaniah 3:1-note)

The words of the worship song Everything Cries Holy are apropos to everything in that day

This is the same declaration as was prescribed for the plates of the turbans of the high priests of ancient Israel...

“You shall also make a plate of pure gold and shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘Holy to the LORD.’ 37 “You shall fasten it on a blue cord, and it shall be on the turban; it shall be at the front of the turban. 38 “It shall be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall take away the iniquity of the holy things which the sons of Israel consecrate, with regard to all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD. (Ex 28:36-38)

The plate on the priest's turban was also a continual reminder to ancient Israel that they were to be holy as the Lord is holy

For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth. 45 ‘For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.’”  (Lev 11:44-45-note)

You (THE NATION OF ISRAEL) shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” (Ex 19:6)

“Israel was holy to the LORD, The first of His harvest. All who ate of it became guilty; Evil came upon them,” declares the LORD.’” (Jer. 2:3)

And the cooking pots in the LORD'S house will be like the bowls before the altar - That is, to say that even the common utensils will not "be common" in that day, but will set apart, holy to the LORD. What an unspeakably glorious day! Even the ordinary, routine things will be set apart (which is the essence of the word "holy") for the service of the LORD! Think about this future glorious day for a moment -- the horses bells will be as holy as were Israel's high priests and the holy Temple utensils used in ancient worship! Mind boggling!

Jamieson, Fausset, Brown - the vessels used for boiling, for receiving ashes, etc., shall be as holy as the bowls used for catching the blood of the sacrificial victims (see on Zec 9:15; 1 Sa 2:14).

NET Note - In the glory of the messianic age there will be no differences between the sacred (the bowls before the altar) and the profane (the cooking pots in the LORD’s temple)—all will be dedicated to his use.

In chapter 8 Zechariah had described the spiritual transformation that would come about in the Millennial age

Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, 19 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘The fast of the fourth, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth months will become (IN THE MILLENNIUM) joy, gladness, and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah; so love truth and peace.’  20 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘It will yet be that peoples will come, even the inhabitants of many cities. 21 ‘The inhabitants of one will go to another, saying, “Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts; I will also go.” 22 ‘So many peoples and mighty nations (GENTILES) will come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD.’  (IN THE MILLENNIUM ISRAEL WILL BECOME THE MEDIUM OF BLESSING TO THE ENTIRE WORLD) 23 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’ (Zech 8:18-23)

Warren Wiersbe - The day would come when Messiah would reign and all Israel’s fasts would become feasts! “And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people; and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying” (Isa. 65:19). Zechariah and Isaiah were both saying, “Don’t live in the past tense; live in the future tense! Rejoice at the promises God gives you for a joyful future!”....When Messiah restores His people and establishes His Kingdom, the Gentiles will trust the true and living God and come to Jerusalem to worship Him. Isaiah saw a river of Gentiles “flowing” into the city (Isa. 2:1–5) and Micah used the same figure (Micah 4:1–5). (Be Heroic) (Bolding added)

Spurgeon The simple meaning of the text is this—that the day will come when in common life holiness will be the guiding star, when the ordinary actions of human existence will be as much the worship of God as the sacrifice on the altar or the mission of the high priest when he went within the veil. Everything that was most despised (the horses), the places that seemed the least likely to be consecrated (the stables), and those things that seemed the least holy (the horses’ harness) will be thoroughly used in obedience to God’s will. Common things, then, in the day spoken of by Zechariah, are to be dedicated to God, and used in his service.

Steven Cole -   A righteous reign means that every aspect of life is sacred for God’s people (Zech 14:20-21). “Holy to the Lord” was the inscription on the plate worn on the forehead of the high priest. In the millennium, that inscription will be put on the bells of the horses, which were animals of commerce and transportation. The meaning is that all of life, including mundane work, will be as sacred as the rituals performed in the temple by the priests. Even the cooking pots in the temple and in private homes will be holy to the Lord in that day. “No Canaanite in the house of the Lord” (14:21) means that no spiritually or morally unclean person will defile the Lord’s house in that day. These verses mean that when the Lord reigns in righteousness, His people will not divide life into sacred and secular compartments. When you do that, you quickly fall into hypocrisy. On Sundays, you put on your religious hat and look “Oh, so spiritual!” The rest of the week, you set aside your religion and live like the rest of the world lives. It’s phony to the core! God’s people should live all of life as holy to the Lord. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).(Zechariah 14:1-21 The Triumph of the Coming King)

Zechariah 14:21 Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the LORD of hosts; and all who sacrifice will come and take of them and boil in them. And there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts in that day.

  • Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the LORD of hosts: Zec 7:6 De 12:7,12 Ne 8:10 Ro 14:6,7 1Co 10:31 1Ti 4:3-5 
  • there will no longer be a Canaanite: Isa 4:3 35:8 Eze 44:9 Ho 12:7 *marg: Joe 3:17 Mt 21:12,13 Mk 11:15-17 Joh 2:15,16 1Co 6:9-11 Rev 18:11-15 21:27 22:15 
  • in the house of the LORD of hosts in that day: Eph 2:19-22 1Ti 3:15 Heb 3:6 1Pe 4:17

NO SEPARATION BETWEEN
SECULAR AND SACRED!

Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the LORD of hosts; and all who sacrifice will come and take of them and boil in them - There will be no barrier between the sacred and the profane in Messiah's Kingdom.

Feinberg - Where holiness prevails, ceremonial sanctity is unnecessary. The last verse of the book states the same truth from another angle. If all the vessels of the sanctuary will be on the same plane of holiness because of universal cleansing, even the ordinary pot throughout the nation will be equally dedicated to the Lord. The vessels of the private homes will be as suitable as those of the Temple for the services of the Lord’s house. (The Minor Prophets)

Barker gives an excellent summary - “There will be holiness in public life (‘the bells of the horses,’ v. 20), in religious life (‘the cooking pots in the LORD’s house,’ v. 20), and in private life (‘every pot in Jerusalem and Judah,’ v. 21). Even common things become holy when they are used for God’s service. So it is with our lives.”

Indeed, God's children today should get a "head start" on preparing for the Millennium by heeding Peter's exhortation

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”  17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct (command - only possible to obey by depending wholly on the Holy Spirit!) yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth (NEXT STOP - ABSENT FROM THE BODY AND PRESENT WITH THE LORD -- AND THEN THE MESSIAH'S REIGN! O GLORIOUS BLESSED HOPE!); 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. ((1 Pe 1:13-19-note)

And there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts in that day - In the OT Canaanite spoke of that which was ceremonially unclean

MacArthur on Canaanite- This identification is used as a figure for the morally and spiritually unclean persons who will be excluded from entering the millennial temple. Before Israel conquered the Promised Land, the vile Canaanites inhabited it; thus the term became proverbial in Israel for a morally degenerate, ceremonially unclean person.

We see this same idea in other writings from the prophet Isaiah...

A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it.  (Isaiah 35:8)

Awake, awake, Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; For the uncircumcised and the unclean Will no longer come into you. (Isaiah 52:1)

Feinberg - What is the meaning of the reference to the Canaanite? It is immediately recognized that it cannot refer to the Canaanites who formerly inhabited the land, for they were never allowed access to the house of the Lord. They were under the curse. Compare Deuteronomy 7:2. The Canaanites (the Phoenicians) were renowned merchantmen (note the Vulgate mercator) and notorious for their unprincipled and wicked ways. In time they came to be symbolic of all that was deceitful, unclean, and ungodly (for proof note Hosea 12:7 in the Hebrew). God promises that in that day of holiness no unclean shall defile the house of the Lord. In short, what is stated positively in the first part of Zech 14:21  is repeated negatively in the latter part of the verse. God’s great object in Israel is holiness; His great aim in the Church is holiness; His great longing for your life and mine is holiness, and only holiness. Our chapter which began in darkness (as did, indeed, the entire prophecy of Zechariah) ends in the radiant and transparent light of holiness. And throughout the prophecy there is presented to us on every page the spotless, blemishless Holy One of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah and King of Israel. See Him in

Chapter one as the Riding One;

Chapter two as the Measuring One;

Chapter three as the Cleansing One;

Chapter four as the Empowering One;

Chapter five as the Judging One;

Chapter six as the Crowned One;

Chapter seven as the Rebuking One;

Chapter eight as the Restoring One;

Chapter nine as the Kingly One;

Chapter ten as the Blessing One;

Chapter eleven as the Shepherding One;

Chapter twelve as the Returning One;

Chapter thirteen as the Smitten One;

Chapter fourteen as the Reigning One.

Come, let us worship at His feet!


TAKE A MOMENT TO SING TO THE LORD OF HOSTS
THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS...

O COME LET US ADORE HIM!


Constable on a Canaanite - The Canaanites throughout Israel’s history represented people who were morally and spiritually unclean, reprehensible to Yahweh, and doomed to death (cf. Gen. 9:25; Isa. 35:8; Ezek. 43:7; 44:9; Rev. 21:27). Probably that is the significance of the name here, not just the ethnic Canaanites alone. There would be no more people like the Canaanites in the land because all would acknowledge Him as God and King.

John Phillips"The Canaanite"—the unclean person, the profane person, the person who made merchandise out of holy things in the old days—will be gone forever. Jerusalem will be what God always intended it to be: "the holy city," the central magnet of all that is sacred and pure throughout the whole wide world. (Exploring the Minor Prophets: An Expository Commentary)

HCSB Study Bible - Canaanite was a pejorative term since the Israelites considered the Canaanites vile and morally reprehensible. But the Israelites had become "Canaanites" by their disobedience. The announcement that there would be no Canaanite in the temple signified the purity of God's chosen people.

Life Application Study Bible - Zechariah was speaking to a people who were enduring hardships: They were being harassed by neighbors; they were discouraged over their small numbers and seemingly inadequate Temple; and their worship was apathetic. But God said, "My love for Jerusalem and Mount Zion is passionate and strong" (Zechariah 1:14). He promised to restore their land, their city, and their Temple. Like other prophets, Zechariah blended prophecies of the present, near future, and final days into one sweeping panorama. Through his message we learn that our hope is found in God and his Messiah, who are in complete control of the world.

Jon Courson - When Jesus comes back to rule and reign, no longer will there be a division between secular and spiritual. No longer will there be separation and fragmentation. Instead, there will be wholeness. At last, there will be holiness. What a day that will be! (Jon Courson's Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2)

Lindsey - Zechariah’s prophetic book which began with a call to repentance (Zech. 1:2–6) concludes with an affirmation that all will be holy to the LORD (Zech 14:20–21). Because He is the LORD Almighty and the Holy One, He will establish holiness throughout the glorious Millennium! (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Steven Cole sums up Zechariah 12-14 writing that "Zechariah’s bottom line is this: If Christ is returning as King to defeat His enemies and to establish His righteous reign over all the earth, then we must walk in holiness before Him. As John puts it, “Everyone who has this hope [of His appearing] fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3). As Peter contemplated the day of the Lord, he concluded, “What sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God ...” (2 Pet. 3:11-12). Do you long for His coming like a child longs for his birthday? God’s aim in history is that Jesus Christ will reign as King over all of heaven and earth. “Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.... He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:17, 20)! (Zechariah 14:1-21 The Triumph of the Coming King)


1) The comfort for Israel (Zech 14:9-11) - Israel will live in the land

2) The condemnation of the enemies (Zech 14:12-15)

3) The celebration of Israel (Zech 14:16-19) The Feast of Booths - this can't be in heaven because there are plagues on those who don't worship.

4) The consecration of Israel (Zech 14:20-21)

So, in chapter 14, Zechariah concludes with a familiar theme or series of events: 
  1.The coming of the Lord 
  2.The deliverance of His people 
  3.The judgment on the nations 
  4.The establishment of His kingdom. 

The message of Zechariah is that God remembers His covenant and will eventually fulfill all the promises. This is a message of hope for the post-exilic community AND a message of hope to every believer of every age that God is a Covenant-Keeping God and that all of His promises are "Yea and Amen" in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah! Maranatha! Hosanna! Amen!

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