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7.67 Zechariah -- Siege of Jerusalem

 The Book of Zechariah ends in another long prophecy of end-time war (chapters 12-14).  This is the grand vision of the end of time, and of the fate of the world.


In chapter 12, God declares that all the nations will come fight against Jerusalem, but it will be an "immovable rock," and her enemies will injure themselves.

         "On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves.  They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place....On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem" (Zech 12:6-9).

Yet, instead of exulting, the inhabitants of Jerusalem will look on 

           "the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child" (Zech 12:10). 


            In the New Testament, John 19:37 applies this verse to Christ crucified, while Revelation 1:7 broadens the onlookers to include "every eye," Gentile as well as Jew.  In this time of repentance, a fountain will be opened, cleansing Jerusalem’s inhabitants (but not the Gentiles) (Zech 13:1).

Then begins a time of purging of the land and the people (Zech 13):  idols and prophets will be eliminated, and the Shepherd himself will be killed, the Messianic protector of the people.  Jesus quoted this verse in reference to himself (Mat 26:31).  The result will be that "the sheep will be scattered."  Two-thirds of the people will perish, and one third be spared.


The final chapter returns to the description of all nations besieging Jerusalem, but now the city falls, and half its people go into exile (Zech 14:2). 

           Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle (Zech 14:3).

Part of this is a picture of redemptive fulfilment:

           On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem....The Lord will be king over the whole earth.  On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name (Zech 14:8-9).

But we also have descriptions of the Lord smiting the foreign nations with a terrible plague and with panic (Zech 14:12-13).  The nations' wealth will flow to the Lord, and the survivors will worship the Lord in Jerusalem.  Egypt is specifically mentioned.  But this is described not as the joy of the redeemed but as the cringing subservience of those who fear that disobedience will invite further punishment.  Jerusalem itself will be a city of holiness, with no "Canaanite" found it in (Zech 14:21).


This last part of the book is almost a restatement of the end of chapter 8, yet in a darker vision.  We prefer the former version: where "many people" come eagerly and willingly to Jerusalem to seek the Lord, asking the Jews to share with them the true knowledge of God (Zech 8:20-23).

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