Saturday, December 28, 2013

Zechariah 13-14 The Day of the Lord


Zechariah 14:1-9 Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light.  On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.

Zechariah prophesies that one day the Lord will stand on Mt Olives with the holy angels: "On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives... the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him." He will come to establish his rule over all the nations: "the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one." This Day of the Lord will be a day of redemption for those who put their faith in Christ, but a day of judgment for those who reject him.

The return of the Lord can be good or bad news, depending on where you stand with regard to Christ. His coming will be marked by three major events:
  • Attack on Jerusalem by the nations: "For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle" (14:2). The Lord will appear to fight against the nations gathered.
  • A major earthquake: "the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward" (14:4).  Not sure what may have triggered this major earthquake. But the next event may be an indication.
  • A major plague: "And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths" (14:12). This description sounds like the sudden incineration of the soft parts of the human bodies due to the fire-storm and heat generated by a nuclear blast. It could also be the reason for the earthquake that split the Mount of Olives.
Be that as it may, we know that when Jesus Christ returns, He comes to defend Jerusalem from being destroyed by the nations of the world. Whether nuclear devices will be used may be a moot point, but despite the devastation there will be survivors: "Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths" (14:16). These survivors will be around when Christ establishes his millennial reign from Jerusalem.

As Iran gathers pace to enrich its uranium while threatening to destroy Israel, biblical prophecies are being fulfilled before our very eyes.

Let's pray that the church will be alert and not be founding sleeping like the five virgins who have no spare oil for their lamps.

Father, help Your people be alert to the signs of the times. Amen.

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