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Zechariah Chapters 12-14

The Redemption of Israel at Messiah's Coming

By Clovis Miller

In other articles, such as The Structure of the Tribulation Period, we have briefly looked at the topic of the Day of Atonement, and how it fits into the prophetic structure of God's endtime plan. In this article, we will take a more indepth look at the details pertaining to those amazing prophecies as contained in the Book of Zechariah (Chapters 12-14). These three chapters deal with the endtime redemption of Israel which will be completed with the coming of Messiah {Jesus}.

From the study of the Feast Days of the Lord, we learned that from the days of Moses, there were seven feast or festival days observed each year; which prophetically show the mission of the Messiah in redeeming Israel, and ultimately, the world. They are divided into two groups, which are:

Holy Days of the Spring Season (Already fullfilled by Jesus)

1) Killing the Passover Lamb {Preparation Day} - Lev. 23:5; Ex. 12:5-6; John 1:29, John 19:14-15; I Cor. 5:7
2) Feast of Unleavened Bread {also called Passover} - Lev. 23:6-8; John 6:32-35; John 12:24
3) Firstfruits - Lev. 23:11; I Cor. 15:20-23
4) Feast of Weeks {also called Pentecost} - Lev. 23:15-16; Acts 2:1-36

Holy Days of the Fall Season {Yet to be fulfilled by Jesus}

5) Feast of Trumpets {Rosh Hashanna} - Lev.23:24-25; I Cor. 15:51-55; I Thess. 4:16-17
6) Day of Atonement {Yom Kippur} - Lev.23:27-32; Zech. 12:10-14, Zech. 14:4; Rev. 1:7, Rev.19:11
7) Feast of Tabernacles {Sukkot} - Lev. 23:34-36; Zech. 14:16-17; Rev.20:4, Rev. 21:3

Before we get into the Book of Zechariah, let's do a little reviewing of the scenario connected with the feast days of the Lord shown above.

Going back to the fact that Jesus ascended to heaven ten days before Pentecost (Acts 1:1-9); and using the pattern of His ascension as a type of the rapture; we may see a parallel, or repeat occurance of that event with the catching up of the church (I Thess. 4:16-17 ; I Cor. 15:51-54) on the feast of Trumpets. Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem (Acts 1:12). The angels there told His followers that He would return in like manner. Zechariah, prophesied this very thing, centuries before, by telling us that when Messiah comes to save Israel, He will stand on that same Mount (Zech. 14:1-4)

In Judaism, the first ten days of the month of Tishri, beginning with the Feast of Trumpets {on Rosh Hashanna} are called, "the days of awe". During this time each year, it is believed that God judges the sins of every person, from the previous year. The fate of two groups, the righteous and the wicked, is sealed on the first day (Rosh Hashana). Another group however, called the sinner, is given the full ten days to repent. If they do so, they are sealed in the Book {of Life} with the righteous for another year. If not they will be sealed with the wicked. Final judgment of the sinner is decreed with the closing of the Day of Atonement {Tishri 10}: a day of intense mourning for the Jewish people (Lev. 23:27-32).

With the rapture of the church occuring on some future Tishri 1 {only God knows which one}, the judgment of Israel's sins would begin. When the 'days of awe' are finished, on the Day of Atonement that year; Israel, as a nation, will be found lacking, and the time of 'Jacob's trouble' (Jer. 30:7 ; Dan. 12:1 ; Matt. 24:21) will begin.

If we consider that the rapture of the church may occur on some future Feast of Trumpets {Tishri 1}, and count ten days from that point {the mirror of Jesus ascending ten days before Pentecost}; that brings us to Tishri 11.

It appears that on that day, a period of great sorrow {the opposite condition of Pentecost} will commence as the people confirm the covenant with the Antichrist (Dan. 9:27). The first half {42 months} of the seven years of tribulation, initiated by that covenant, is alluded to in the Gospel accounts as "the beginning of sorrows" (Matt. 24:8 ; Mark 13:8).

Using a thirty day per month calendar {per Rev. 12:6 and Rev. 13:5) and counting forward exactly 42 months {42 x 30 =1,260 days} from Tishri 11, brings us to Nissan 10; the time of Passover, in the spring season. The ending of that day would close the period referred to in Scripture as "the beginning of sorrows". It was on Nissan 10, that the Jewish people were commanded to inspect, and select, the lamb for the Passover sacrifice (Ex. 12:3).

It is likely that on this date, that the image of the beast (Rev. 13:14-15) will be unveiled and set up, in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, as a replacement for the daily sacrifices. Those sacrifices, most likely established thru the covenant with the Antichrist, will probably be taken away thirty days prior to the actual setting up the image. (For more detail on this, see Daniels 1,335 Days prophecy at the end of this article).

We can therefore understand that exactly 3 1/2 years into the tribulation period; probably in the evening, as Nissan 10 is giving way to Nissan 11, the Antichrist will enter the temple at Jerusalem, proclaim himself to be God, and then dedicate the "image of the beast". With the setting up of the image {also called, the Abomination of Desolation} in the temple, the beginning of sorrows ends, and the 42 months of "great tribulation" begins (Matt. 24:15-21}. Many Jewish people are looking each year, for their Messiah to come during the time of Passover. Unfortunately, it appears that the "Messiah" who will come at that time of the year, will be the false Messiah with whom Israel had made the covenant 3 1/2 years previously: a decision which, at this point, is about to bring unparalleled distress in the land (Matt. 24:21), ultimately causing two-thirds of her people to die.

Counting exactly 42 months from Nissan 11, the first day of Antichrist's reign as "God" (II Thes. 2:3-8), takes us forward to the Day of Atonement, on Tishri 10 in the fall season, thus completing the 7 years {42 months of sorrows + 42 months of great tribulation}.

* * * * * * * *

Having set the outline of events, we will now explore the three chapters in the Book of Zechariah, and examine why they appear to point to the last two feast days on the prophetic calendar as found in Leviticus 23..

The time setting for these chapters is the very end of the period called the "great tribulation", also called "Jacob's trouble", as stated above. We know this because it is the time when Messiah comes to rescue the remaining one-third of Israel from pending anihilation at the hands of Antichrist.

Chapter 12

(Zech. 12:1)

In studying the first part of chapter 12, it would appear that the Lord is 100% for Israel: "the burden of the word of the Lord for Israel" {KJV}. So why does it begin by saying {NKJV} that the word of the Lord is "against Israel"? The answer may be found in the latter part of the chapter, where it is stated that two-thirds of Israel would be cut off from the land and die. The remaining one-third will be brought "...through the fire.." {great tribulation}, refined and made ready to receive their Messiah. The Lord is really telling the end from the beginning, when He states early that He will save Jerusalem and Judah. We will cover the reasons why two-thirds of the people will be "cut off" as we continue this study. The Lord is in favor of the righteous of Israel, but is against those who do not keep His precepts.

(Zech. 12:2)

To set the stage for understanding the context of these three chapters, we need to realize that Antichrist, at this point, has had control over Jerusalem, and the land of Israel, for almost 3 1/2 years (II Thess. 2:3-8 ; Rev. 13:5). In these chapters of Zechariah however, it is clear that the peoples of Israel, not Antichrist, will have control over Jerusalem just prior to the comming of their true Messiah. God has determined this to be the case so that He may bring all nations to His City to be judged. The two-thirds of Israel, as previously mentioned, have been cut off, leaving only the one-third, who have now retaken the city, and portions of Judea. How did they manage to wrest control of the city from Antichrist?

The apparent answer to this is, that Antichrist will temporarily leave the land of Israel, to personally lead the attack against the one who has become his chief foe in the earth: the City of Babylon (Rev. 17:11-18). The Jews which had fled into the wilderness at the beginning of Antichrist's reign (Rev. 12:14), now return to take back the city, at the precise time the window of opportunity opens. God has the whole plan in place!

Jerusalem shall become a "cup of trembling" (drunkeness) to all of the peoples which lay seige against her and Judah. The roles are now reversed: the followers of Antichrist are now on the outside, and the Jews who have retaken the city, on the inside. The city was quickly lost in Antichrist's absence, Those on the outside are now perplexed as to how to respond. The stage is now set, to draw the nations of the earth together, to affect a "final solution" concerning the Jews: namely, their anilhilation..

(Zech. 12:3)

Here, the city is also likened unto a "burdensome stone". The context suggesting, that when Antichrist returns to Israel, and gathers all nations at Meggido (Rev. 16:16), the consensus arrived at among them, will be: Not only do they need to eradicate the Jews, who have dared to retake the city: but the city itself must be obliterated. By doing so, there would remain no trace of evidence that the Jews had ever been there. In other words, destroy the covenant that God made with Abraham; containing the promise to redeem Israel and give all of the lands promised to Abraham, to his descendants . We are assured in this verse however, that whoever tries to remove Jerusalem from its place, will be cut to pieces in the process; even if all the nations of the earth come against the city to remove it.

(Zech. 12:4-5)

The first part of verse 4, seems to be referring to the time Messiah is revealed (Zech. 14:3-4). The enemy will be made to stand in full disarray; confused and unable to respond to the fury of the Lord directed at them. The second part of verse 4, appear to be referring to Judah, as the forces of Antichrist assemble at Megiddo. Before this time, Judah had been rapidly sweeping the region, in Antichrist's absence, and securing the land (verse 6). Now Antichrist has returned to the area, to begin preparations for that "final solution" concerning the Jews (their anihilation, and the total destruction of the city they hold so dear).

(Zech. 12:6)

This verse suggests that those in Judea, who had fled into the mountains at the mid-point of the tribulation period (Matt. 24:15-16), are now some how empowered and emboldened to go forth and wrestle control of Jerusalem and the surrounding area from the followers of Antichrist. The "governors of Judah: become like " hearth among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf...", liberating both Jerusalem and the surrounding area. The question may be raised here as to whether the 144,000 redeemed of Israel (Rev.7) may represent the governors of Judah, who under the leadership of Jesus (Rev. 14:1-4) go forth to retake the land and the city of Jerusalem.

Other Jews, who were hidden under the banner of Babylon for 3 1/2 years (Rev. 12:6 ; Rev. 18:4), having fled that city at the onslaught of Antichrist's attack, have now returned to occupy Jerusalem, and to give honor and glory to the Lord of heaven for their deliverance.

(Zech. 12:7)

Because the people have now turned their hearts to the God, the Lord of heaven declares that He, "...shall save the tents of Judah first...". This seems to point to Joel 3:9-17, where its is stated that,

"The Lord shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel."

(Zech. 12:8-9)

When Messiah appears at Jerusalem, the people will be empowered:

"...he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all nations that come against Jerusalem."

(Zech. 12:10)

The Lord of heaven looking down upon the remnant of Israel, and seeing their impending anihilation at the hands of Antichrist, now pours out His Spirit upon the peoples of Jerusalem. This is followed by an intense mourning among them, which will end with the appearing of their Messiah to deliver them from the hands of Antichrist.

Here is brought to pass that prophecy:

"...they shal look upon me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one who is in bitterness for his firstborn."

This ties together precisely with Rev. 1:7, which states:

"...Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him..."

(Zech. 12:11-14)

" the mourning of Ha'dad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo..."

This statement is refering to II Kings, chapter 23, where Pharoah Ne'cho of Egypt went to the aid of the King of Assyria, and King Josiah of Israel, went out against him at Megiddo, only to be killed.

We are also told here, that there was never a king like Josiah: a king who turned his whole heart to the Lord, that he might lead to people to serve God (II Kings 23:25). Verse 30 states that they brought his body back to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb.

The point made by Zechariah is, that just as there was great mourning in the land with the death of great King Josiah; so it will be at the time of the coming of their redeemer. Then they will realize that their ancestors rejected and killed a king greater than Josiah; a king whose name is Jesus. The good news however, is found in Psalm 30:5,

"For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

The last three verses of this chapter show us a perfect picture of how the peoples will to respond on that Day of Atonement; not only for their own sins, but those of their ancestors, as well. Yom Kippur is the most solemn day of the year for the Jewish people, and is a Sabbath in the strictest sense of the word. Not only is work forbidden on that day, but fasting is also required.

Every sabbath in Scripture is to be a day of rest and relaxation, with one exception: the Day of Atonement. It is the only sabbath in which the people are required to "afflict" their souls (Lev. 23:32). The tip off that Messiah comes on a day of mourning, which is also a sabbath, may be found in Ex. 16:29, "...let no man go out of his place on the seventh day." (the sabbath). Here in Zech. 12, we are told that every family on that day will mourn " itself...". In other words, there will be no organized assembly of the people to show the Lord their remorse and grief: but on that day, each family, will remain in their own dwelling as stated in Ex. 16:29. We are furthermore told that the wives in each of those dwellings will also mourn apart from the rest of the family, showing how the mother grieves for the loss of her firstborn (12:10): the Messiah (Jesus) whom they now realize was given the death sentence by His Jewish brethern. It's reminiscient of the story of Joseph, whose brothers first sought to kill him, but then sold him into slavery in Egypt. Eventually, the brothers came and kneeled before him. So it will also be with the return of Jesus; and just as Joseph's brothers found mercy before him, so will the brethern of Jesus find mercy when they appear before Him.

Chapter 13

(Zech. 13:1)

"...a fountain opened... for sin and for uncleaness."

This phrase in verse 1 points to Daniel 9:24, which states:

"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and the make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy."

In Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the word, "Kippur" is from the root word, "Kaphar" (Strong's Hebrew #3722), which means "to expiate or condone, placate or cancel". In other words, it means to atone, cleanse, or bring reconciliation (appease God's wrath towards the rebellious children of Israel). Here, in verse 1, we see a fountain of cleansing opened for "the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem", for that purpose. It is in this same day that God says, He will, "...pour upon Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplications:..." (Zech. 12:10). Unmerited favor (grace), willl be poured out upon the people, "in that day". It is a day in which God will reconcile the wayward children of Israel unto Himself. Yet another indication that the second coming of Jesus will occur on, and fulfill the sixth feast day of the Lord: the Day of Atonement, by the redemption of Israel!!

It might be noted here, that on the Day of Atonement, Jewish people wear garments of white. In temple days, the High Priest, also changed into garments of "white linen" before entering the Holy of Holies, to sprinkle blood upon the mercy seat, atop the Ark of the Covenant. For the High Priest it was a bloody time, for it was upon him to performed ALL of the sacrifices in the temple on that day. His garments were undoubtedly stained with blood in the carrying out of his duties on the Day of Atonement (Isa. 1:18). He washed himself no less than ten times during the day. This is said in contrast with the second coming of Jesus, who will Himself, with a "vesture dipped in blood" (Rev. 19:13-14), lead the saints clad in "white linen" to the city of Jerusalem. Again, we see evidence that He will return on the Day of Atonement. There is an old Jewish saying, that "Messiah will come if all of Israel will repent in one day". There is every indication, in the Book of Zechariah, that this very thing will happen.

We also find in Matt. 24:30, that just prior to the revelation of Jesus, all of the "tribes" of the earth, shall mourn. The Greek word for tribes used here is, "Phule" (Strong's Greek #5443). It speaks of, "an offshoot, i.e. race or clan". The comparable Hebrew word is pronounced, "shay'-bet" (Strong's Hebrew #7626). Neither of the words are a reference to "nations", but rather to smaller individual units. The twelve individual tribes of Israel, clearly fit into this category. So all the tribes of the earth, including the tribes of Israel will be in mourning on the day of the Messiah's revelation. This ties in perfectly with what is described in Zech. 12:12-14.

(Zech. 13: 2-7)

These verses deal with the reason, two-thirds of the people of Israel will be cut off, and die. During the great tribulation, idolatry wil be rampant in the land; primarily as a results of the presence of the image of the beast in the Temple of Jerusalem. Also, the land will be filled with false prophets, deceiving the people with their proclamations of good things to come. The Lord decrees here that He will cause "...the unclean spirit to pass out of the land."

(Zech. 13: 8-9)

These verses confirm the destiny of the children of Israel. Two-thirds will be cut off because of their sin; but the repentant one-third, who have turned to call upon the Lord will be saved.

"...they shall call upon my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God."

Chapter 14

(Zech. 14: 1-3)

"...thy spoil shall be divided..."

In verse 2, it is stated that the Lord will gather all nations against Jerualem. It's the great battle of God Almighty. He has also moved the nations to bring the merchandise of their conquest of Babylon into the land of Israel. The purpose: to take the treasures of the wicked and put them in the hands of the righteous (Prov. 13:22). As this scenario unfolds, we are told that half of the city will fall into the hands of the enemy. Their progress however, will be short lived; for just when it seems that all is lost, the Messiah breaks upon the scene, in blazing glory. He will then go forth to fight against those who have gathered themselves against Jerusalem and Judah. In keeping true to His word, He will "roar out of Zion..." and save the peoples of Judah first (12:7). In the process, He will cut off reinforcements for those who have invaded Jerusalem, thus halting their advance.

(Zech. 14:4)

"...His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives..."

Having secured Judah, Jesus then returns to Jerusalem, touching down on the Mount of Olives, fulfilling Acts 1:11-12. As he touches the mountain, Scripture tell us that it will split into two parts, causing a large valley to be formed, running east to west, from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean.

(Zech. 14: 5)

" shall flee through my mountain valley..."{NKJV}

The peoples who know the word of God and the prophecies of Zechariah, know that they are to flee into this valley to escape. The escape is not from the enemy, but from the fury of the Lord which shall be poured against those who have battled their way into the city. The Lord will have none of His elect injuried in His fight with the forces of Antichrist.

With the elect safely out of the way, the Lord then goes forth to capture Antichrist and his false prophet, and then destroy the remnant of his forces (Rev.19:20-21).

verse 5 concludes by stating the the Lord will come and all the saints with him (meaning, all those who had been with Him in heaven prior to His revelation).

(Zech. 14: 6-7)

"...the light shall not be clear..."

This verse takes us back to the time just prior to the revelation of the Lord Jesus. No sunrise occurs on this day (of atonement). Daybreak begins with an eerie type of light, as one would see at dusk (neither light, nor darkness, with no sun, moon or stars visible anywhere on earth). This may possibly be what is referred to in Matt. 24:29-30, as "...the sign of the Son of man in heaven..." Why would there be such a condition present at that time? Because when the Lord appears from heaven, all eyes will be drawn to, and focused upon Him (Rev. 1:7). He will be at center stage before the whole world on that day.

(Zech. 14: 8)

" waters..."

Here, it is emphasized that through the "...valley of the mountains..." which is to be created at Jerusalem at the revelation of the Messiah, shall flow, "living waters". This is obviously a foreshadow of the ".. pure river of water of life.." which shall flow from the throne of God in the heart of new Jerusalem, after the new heaven and earth are created (Rev.22:1). Basically, this states that wherever the King of Glory resides there will be curative waters found for the peoples to partake of.

(Zech. 14: 9-11)

"...king over all the earth..."

Jesus, the Messiah, has now conquered Antichrist, and destroyed all those who opposed Him at His revelation. Now the King of Glory will sit upon the throne of David, promised to Him (Isa.9:6-7); from which He will judge the nations of the earth (Matt. 25:31-32). He is now officially the " King of kings and Lord of lords" (Rev.19:16): all judgment in totally in His hands. No more will He be known by the different names of the various languages of the world; but everyone shall call Him by the same name, for there shall be, " Lord, and his name one".

Verses 10 and 11 speak of physical changes to the landscape of Israel, with the promised that Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited from henceforth.

(Zech. 14: 12-15)

"...Their flesh shall consume away..."

Again, we return to the time of the Lord's revelation, when He will cause chaos to ensue among His enemies, causing them to kill each other. All others, which do not fight among themselves, will be consumed, "...with the brightness of his coming..." (II Thess. 2:8).

(Zech. 14: 16-21)

"...feast of tabernacles..."

Even in the fury of his judgment, the Lord will show mercy to those surviving that day; but will require that all nations present themselves before Him each year at the Feast of Tabernacles (the seventh feast day of Lev. 23).

The Day of Atonement will be literally fulfilled with the revelation of the Lord on that day. Then the nations will come up from year to year (during the millenial reign- Rev. 20:4), to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This will probably begin the year following the revelation of the Lord, because the temple in Jerusalem will not be cleansed until Hanukkah (Chanuka), seventy five days after the Day of Atonement.

To read about the cleansing of the temple on Hanukkah, and the 1,335 Days of Daniel Chapter 12 Click Here.

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