ZECHARIAH 12:1 – 14:21 and REVELATION 21:1–27
Zechariah will now direct his prophesy towards the time of the 2nd coming. The first 2 verses speaks of a siege upon Jerusalem that in the end will prove to be victorious for Israel. The siege has to be referring to the end times because the attack on Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70 was complete annihilation for the Jews. There is no doubt that this would be referring to the time of Armageddon when nations of the earth would gather to fight against Israel and the Lord himself. In verse 3 it speaks of Israel as a burdensome stone. Is this not true when reading news accounts? The whole world seems to be preoccupied with Israel. What is it about this nation that occupies a rather small portion of territory? Why is there such a concern and hatred amongst nations for Israel? How is it that a group of people who had been disbanded for centuries suddenly be able to re-emerge as a strong and powerful people since 1948? It truly is an amazing day and hour in which we live. One of the big issues has been the dividing of land; something which the Lord strongly forbids (Joel 3:2). It is frightening to see the nations that are involved in seeking to broker a land deal that God opposes. When searching throughout history one cannot help but note that every people or nation that has come up against Israel has eventually fallen. Though the odds will be increasingly staked high against Israel at the time of the 2nd coming they will prevail due to the Lord’s intervention.
There will be the forces of the earth that will gather to fight Israel but they will be blinded and brought to a place of astonishment. At the same time the defenders of Judah will have their eyes open to see the true picture, the reality of what is taking place. Elisha lived in a day and came to experience a picture of what this last day scenario will look like.
2Ki 6:15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
2Ki 6:16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
2Ki 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
2Ki 6:18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.
There is an interesting truth in verse 7. The tents of Judah will first come to know the glory and power of God prior to those who are the inhabitants of Jerusalem. There will be a literal fulfillment of this verse regarding Israel but it seems to have a message for the Gentile church as well. We should not be surprised in the manner that God will move in the upcoming revival. We often expect God to come in some preconceived way and if it is otherwise it may be rejected. In the 1960’s and 70’s the Lord moved amongst the hippies and groups of young people that many would not pay attention to. Many failed to recognize God at work. It could well be the same in the days before us. There are strong hints that God is going to move mightily amongst the backsliders. Will the church at large have the capacity to receive them? When God moves in such a way it helps to keep a people humble and ever reliant upon God. The last thing that is wanted at such times is any element of pride.
The Lord will go to great lengths to serve as a defender of those who uphold Zion and all that it represents (vs 8). We need to be very clear concerning what the Lord is saying concerning Israel in the last days. God has great love for His beloved Israel and He is going to be reconciled to them at the time of the 2nd Coming. Prior to this however there will be great judgement, especially after the Abomination of Desolation (Math 24:15). It is fascinating to see how the nations of the earth are positioning themselves today as it relates to Israel. There will be a literal return of the Lord to Jerusalem and all of Israel will see Him. The spirit of supplications and grace will be upon Israel as they looked upon the One whom they had denied; the One whose hands they pierced.
There will be a time of great mourning similar to that which took place at the death of King Josiah (2Chr 35:24-25). There will be a much greater mourning throughout Israel when they behold their Messiah. They will come to grips that Jesus was indeed their Messiah and it was through their rejection of Him that he went to the Cross. There will be a collective sighing, mourning and repenting of that which was done followed by a glorious reunion of God with His people.
There is a fountain of cleansing that will be opened at the time of the 2nd coming. This fountain was spoken of by Joel.
Joe 3:18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.
It is clear that the antichrist will bring about idolatry culminating in an image of himself that people will worship. This was seen with Nebuchadnezzar back in the days of Daniel. It is important to link Daniel chapter 3 with Revelation chapter 13. It is a clear cut picture of what will take place in the last days. It is also a clear cut picture of what will be required in being able to stand faithful in that day. The 3 friends of Daniel serve as the model and example of the stature of believer that will need to emerge. There will be many streams of prophesy that will come forth in the last days. It is critical in being able to discern that which is of the Lord. The prophetic stream helps to establish people on a particular course. It will be in this environment where the antichrist will thrive. The key will be in having a circumcised heart. If our heart is not wholly given over to the Lord we may be prone to deception and false messages. It will be one of the means in how the church will divide in the last days. The initial ministry of the antichrist will be subtle and persuasive. His influence will be so strong that he will be able to convince Israel and many in the church to consent to the death of Moses and Elijah (Rev 11:6). It sounds like this would be impossible but is it really? The Lord was rejected by his own and there will be a similar re-enactment when Israel and the church at large will reject the elevated standards of Moses and Elijah.
It is in verse 6 when Israel comes to know that they have rejected their Messiah. He shares with them the wounded hands and collectively, one by one they mourn and repent before Him. This verse makes it clear that Israel does not return to the Lord until the time of the 2nd coming. The following verse is not in sequential order seeing that it reverts back to the time of the Lord’s first Advent. It was in the smiting of the chief shepherd that Israel would be scattered which is exactly what happened. In fact, the Lord even quoted this verse (Mark 14:27). The Word of the Lord again goes back to the last days in verses 8-9. There will be considerable bloodshed in Israel at the time of the end. In fact, it speaks of 2/3 of the people being slain. It will be the final third that will be refined and purified as they call upon His name. Yes, we can rejoice that Israel in the end will return to the Lord at the time of the 2nd coming but it will not be until after there is much bloodshed.
The Lord again speaks of the gathering of nations that will come against Jerusalem. It will not only be for the purpose of destruction against the enemies of the Lord but it will also serve as a means of cleansing and purifying of Israel. This will be the fulfillment of what the prophet Joel spoke of in the closing portion of his prophetic Word.
Joe 3:21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.
In the end Jerusalem will be called the “city of righteousness, the faithful city” (Isa 1:26). It will be a fierce battle and by all accounts it looks as if the enemies of Israel will prevail. Jerusalem will come under siege and fall but this will not be the case concerning Mt. Zion. It is here where the Lord draws the line. It is Zion where the law of God is upheld and honored. It helps to make clear the importance of upholding and keeping of God’s law and statutes.
There will be a severe earthquake and shaking when the Lord places His feet upon the Mt. of Olives (vs 4). It is from here where the Lord ascended into heaven and it is here where his return takes place. Interestingly, there is a fault line that travels around the world which begins in Alaska and ends up on the Mt. of Olives. There will be a separation of mountains that takes place right along this fault line. This earthquake is the 2nd major one mentioned in scripture. The first one happened during the reign of King Uzziah of Judah. This earthquake is referred to in Amos 1:1. When the Lord returns to the Mt. of Olives He will be accompanied by ten thousands of His saints (Jude 1:14-15. It is clear that the church and Israel, in spite of great judgements that they will experience will come out victorious at the end. In verses 6-7 there is an associated miracle that will confirm His 2nd coming. It speaks of the night being full of light like the day. It is only the Father who knows the exact timing of the Lord’s return (Math 24:36). We can have an idea of the timing of certain events but no man knows the exact timing of the Lord’s. Sadly, many people who certainly should know better have tried to place dates on the 2nd coming of the Lord.
There will be a river that flows out of the temple in the Millennium. There has to be a temple that is yet to be built. The prophet Ezekiel saw a river flowing out of a temple which can be linked to verse 8. The Lord shall be king over all the earth at this time. All idols will have been removed and the power of Satan broken as he is bound during the Millennium. It appears that this powerful earthquake will have ramifications for the topography of the earth (vs 10). This has already been seen in small measure as the earth has begun the process of violent upheavals due to the transgressions upon the land.
Israel will dwell in safety during this period meaning that verse 11 is a millennial promise. There is going to be a slaughter that will take place against those who have and are opposing Jerusalem. The spoils of these nations will be gathered by Israel after these battles which will include the gold of these nations. This is referred to by the prophet Haggai (Hag 2:7-8). In verses 15-16 we see evidence that the Feasts of the Lord will be kept in the millennium. It will be the Feast of Tabernacles (Spiritual) that will bring the church into fruition and ripeness in these last days. This is why there yet needs to be a mighty revival. The 7th kingdom parable (The Parable of the Net) coincides with the Feast of Tabernacles. In the millennium Jerusalem will be the center of worship. It will be required of nations to come up annually to celebrate the various feasts of the Lord. As time goes on there will be nations that will refuse to come up for the celebration of the Feasts. This defiance puts something into motion within these nations that will make them prey to Satan’s deceit when he is loosed. It is the inward sinful nature of man that will bring about the rebellion. There will be an open pit for people to look right into hell for the purpose of warning those who were heading in that direction (Isa 66:24). There will be punishments for nations that refuse to come up (vs 19).
The millennial reign of Christ will be characterized by holiness. It will be the feasts and the keeping of them that will instruct Israel in how to fulfill the actual feasts. This will not be ritual but a modern application in fulfilling the requirements of the Lord. Israel will return to the law and all nations will be required to go to Jerusalem to worship the living God. When the United Kingdom broke up there were two different places of worship that came into being. There should have only been the one in Jerusalem but there was an altar established at Bethel in Samaria as Jeroboam and Israel (northern tribes) revolted and rebelled against God. It seems that there will be a similar scenario amongst several of the nations during the millennium.
The last section of the Book of Revelation will feature the New Heaven and New Earth that will come into being at the close of the Millennial reign of Christ. All things will become new and the former things being passed away. This thought is echoed in Isa 65:17-18 where it also speaks of the former things not even coming to mind. The Apostle Peter also cited this day in 2 Pet 3:12-14. The primary purpose for the heavenly Jerusalem is that it will provide a habitation for the Lord. It will be the Tabernacle or dwelling place of God. We are called to be the spiritual temples of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 6:16). The heavenly Jerusalem is called to be the bride adorned and prepared for the bridegroom. It is not just Christ dwelling with man but God the Father Himself.
The Lord gives the promise of wiping away all tears, all sorrows and any semblance of death. These sayings are Faithful and True and they will become a reality. It is clear that any heartaches, regrets or hurts from the past will be remembered no more. The Lord speaks of Himself as the Alpha and Omega. He that begins a good work is faithful and true to finish it. The very last enemy to be destroyed is death. The believer now has access to freely drink from this fountain of life. The Lord has come to give life and give it more abundantly (John 10:10).
We must be ever mindful that these promises are given to those who proved themselves to be overcomers. This was the key to obtaining the promises as seen in the seven churches (Rev 2-3). It is to the extent we obtain grace that we will be able to be overcomers. We can only overcome through grace but it must be appropriated. It is not a passive kind of experience. In verse 8 there is a listing of 8 categories of those who are wicked and will end up in the lake of fire. They are as follows:
1) The Fearful-Those who do not exercise faith; those who do not trust God.
2) Unbelievers-They doubt the existence of God and are those who refuse to believe His promises.
3) Abominable-Believers who are in reality “unclean”. They Know God but deny His works.
4) Murderers-This is violation of the 6th commandment. Abortion also needs to be repented of.
5) Whoremongers-those who commit fornication or other immoral acts such as homosexuality
6) Sorcerers-Those who practice witchcraft. One also needs to guard against jealousy and rebellion.
7) Idolaters-those who worship tangible and intangible objects or people other than God.
8) Liars-Those who do not love the truth and speak Truth in their hearts.
Let us not see the above as being solely for unbelievers. There are many Christians who would fall into this category. The writer of Proverbs speaks of a people who hated reproof and or instruction. They have not obeyed the voice of their teachers (Pro 5:12-14). In verse 9 one of the 7 angels who carried out the judgement of the vials has the privilege of presenting the Lamb’s wife. The Lamb’s wife in this instance would be the heavenly Jerusalem. There is the bride that had made herself ready for the bridegroom (Lord) in Revelation 19:6. We also see this angel as one who revealed the whore that the judgement that was to come upon her (Rev 19:8).
The mountain that is described in verse 10 is none other than Mt. Zion. The glory of the Lord radiates as it descends from the sky (vs 11). The Lord revealed His glory to Moses as he cried out to know more of Him (Exo 34:6). It was an inward cry that Moses had within him. It suggests that as we hunger and thirst for more of him it opens the door for Him to move in greater measure. He will reveal His attributes if we are desperate enough in wanting to truly know His ways.
This heavenly Jerusalem consists of both earthly Israel and the Gentile Church. There are the 12 tribes which are mentioned in Revelation chapter 7. The difference here is that the tribe of Dan has been removed and the tribe of Manasseh has been added. The foundations of the church also are not all original. Judas had to be replaced by Matthias due to His betrayal of the Lord. The measurements of this new city are given. They are based on multiples of 12. The number 12 speaks of government. The city itself is 4 square. It is comprised of 12,000 furlongs which can be translated as 1500 miles cubed. These measurements would make this city about half the size of the USA. There are a few other truths to observe regarding this New City. It will not be made available to all believers but only to those who had overcome. It also mentions that nations will come to the city and be guided by its light. How can people who are inside the city have the opportunity to come unto it? The New Jerusalem will be at the center of the new Earth just as Jerusalem is at the center of the earth today. So, not all believers will be part of the bride company of Christ and not all believers will be part of the New Heaven and New Earth. It is given to those who are overcomers.
The Lord sits as the refiner of His church and this is seen by way of the purity of the precious stones that make up the walls. A description of the Lord is given in Mal 3:2-3 as the refiner of His people. He seeks to refine His church as gold tried in the fire. It is an intense process but its luminance and transparent nature makes it a delight to the Lord. These are the qualities that comprise the New Heaven and New Earth. The sons of Levi, the priests are those who have subjected themselves to the fire of God. This holy city is like glass without any distortion that reflects the beauty and glory of the Blessed Lord. It is a refining process the Lord looks to do in our lives. It is an overcoming process.
In verse 21 there are the 12 gates each having a pearl as part of its makeup. The pearl is a symbol of suffering which again denotes the characteristics of an overcomer. It speaks of a Christian who endeavors to move on in God; a believer who does not settle for status quo. These are the ones who will qualify to be a part of the bride of Christ. The Bible is clear in stating that if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him (2 Tim 2:12). Everything in this New City seems to consist of gold. This means that the divine nature must be incorporated into our lives. There is no need for a temple seeing that the Lord and His saints are so purified that the brilliance of glory will serve as the light. There is no need for the intermediary functions of a temple. This is a fulfillment of something that was in the heart of God from the beginning.
Exo 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
This chapter ends with the reminder that there will be no wickedness or evidence of defilement that will have entry into this blessed experience. We must also ensure that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life; that they are not blotted out due to ignorance or a turning away from God’s salvation. It is those who endure to the end that shall be saved.