The second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be the most important event in the history of mankind. We often wonder how this is related to the history of the Jews, God’s chosen people. The Bible is clear on this matter. Let us turn to Zechariah chapter 14. First let me give you a historical backdrop to this chapter.
In 586 BC, the southern kingdom of Judah was taken into Babylonian Captivity. Zechariah was born in Babylon. After Babylonians, Persians came to power. In 538 BC, Persian emperor Cyrus gave a decree that the Jews could return to their homeland. With 50,000 of his fellow Jews, Zechariah returned to Jerusalem. The temple was central to Jewish life. So, they wanted to build a temple in Jerusalem. But their enthusiasm soon evaporated. They were too depressed to build the temple of God. Sixteen years had passed as people could not come out this melancholy and despair.
Then God sent two prophets to His people: Zechariah and Haggai. Their task was to encourage God’s people to fill their hearts with hope and aspiration. Zechariah started to write this book in 520 BC. His message was centered on the coming Messiah from heaven. He made no distinction between the first and second coming of the Messiah.
A Messiah is coming to rule over you.
A Redeemer is coming to redeem you from your sins
A Savior is coming to save you from your enemies.
His message inspired people to get up and work. The Messiah is coming, so we must get up and work. They started to build the house of God. Within four years, by the year 516 BC, they were able to complete its construction. The hope of the Messiah was the key for their ministry.
Why are so many Christians joyless in our time? Because they forgot the Second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know many churches are being bought away by Muslims and are being converted to Mosques? Why are so many churches dying in our time? Because they are no longer looking for the Second Coming of our Lord. In fact, many ‘Christian’ leaders no longer preach the Second coming of Jesus. No wonder there is no joy in Christian homes and churches.
Do you want joy in your life?
Do you need inspiration in your life?
Do you need encouragement in your life?
Do you want to build a living church?
Then you should start your day with the anticipation of the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is what Zechariah and friends did 2500 years ago. They were waiting for their Messiah. Their hope motivated them to build the house of God. Many prophecies Zechariah made were fulfilled in the first coming of Christ.
The Messiah will go to Jerusalem on a donkey (9:9)
He will make a covenant with his blood (9:11)
He is a shepherd (10:2)
He will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (11:12)
He will be pierced (12:10)
He will be smitten (13:7)
Those prophecies were fulfilled in the first coming of Christ. The prophecies in chapter 14 will be fulfilled during the second coming.
Behold the day of the Lord cometh. Zechariah 14: 1
The Day of the Lord: How will it affect you? It depends on whether you are saved or unsaved. It will be a doomsday for the unrepentant and unsaved, but a day of redemption for the repentant and saved.
Zechariah informs us the events surrounding this great Day of the Lord. Verse 2:
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle.
A Great war is coming. All nations of the world will encircle Jerusalem. Zechariah describes their plunder.
The city shall be taken,
and the houses rifled,
and the women ravished.
And half of the city shall go forth into captivity,
and the residue of the people shall be cut off from the city.
The nation of Israel will take the central stage in the end time prophecy. When US President Donald Trump made the decision to move US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, almost 99 percent of world’s nations opposed him. Much of the world is against the interests of Israel. We can also see the rise of antisemitism around the world. Last week in Berlin, a Syrian refugee attacked a young man who wore a kippa. A kippa is a skullcap Jewish men wear on their heads.The victim Adam Armoush, a 21 year-old Israeli is not even Jewish. He was bragging and betting with his friend, ‘I am going to wear a kippa and prove that Berlin does not have anti-Semitism’. He was badly and sorely mistaken. A Muslim refugee attacked him shouting, yahudi, yahudi. Yahudi is the Arabic word for Jew. He lashed him with his belt. Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany warned against Jewish men wearing a kippa in public. So, in Germany, of all places, Jews are being told not to wear anything that overtly Jewish.
France is no better. Anti-semitic attacks are on the rise. Over 300 French leaders wrote a Manifesto calling for the removal of certain passages of Quran which promote anti-semitism. Needless to say, Muslim leaders attacked this manifesto. With the rise of biblical illiteracy and Islamic fundamentalism, anti-semitism will only get worse in the future. More Quran and less Bible is a deadly recipe for antisemitism. This will culminate in the war against Jerusalem described here in Zechariah chapter 14.
Zechariah also warned about the coming Antichrist. Tyranny and anti-semitism will go together. No one will hate Jews more than AntiChrist. He will be the perfect manifestation of tyranny and antisemitism. What did we see in Adolf Hitler? tyranny and antisemitism. Recently I was reading about Arnold Schoenberg. He was an Austrian composer. His music profoundly influenced 20th century. He was born into a Jewish family in Vienna. When Nazis came to power under Adolf Hitler in 1933, his life radically changed. He lost many of his relatives in the Holocaust. Schoenberg composed two great works of music as he contemplated the holocaust and second world war. He wrote Ode to Napoleon against tyranny. He condemned the totalitarianism of tyrants like Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin. He protested their oppression, brutality and subjugation of millions of people. Antichrist will supercede every tyrant this world has ever seen. No tyrant or dictator will match his ruthlessness.
Schoenberg also wrote A Survivor from Warsaw as a tribute to Holocaust victims. A Survivor from Warsaw is about a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto in the Second World War. The scene takes us to a concentration camp. The Nazi officers hold a roll-call of a group of Jews. They shout ‘Everybody, line up’. They beat the weak and elderly who cannot line up quickly. They demand to count faster. The Jews start with counting and then break into a prayer, the Shema Yisrael.
The Shema Israel is from Deuteronomy 6:4
Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.
Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.
Those words comforted Jewish people throughout their history.
God and His word preserved them
Let us see how God will come down during this final war against the Jews.
Then shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.
This great battle is called the Battle of Armageddon. It will be fought in many places across and around the nation of Israel including in Megiddo. It was told that when Napoleon visited this site in 1799 he said, ‘There is no place in the whole world more suited for war than this…this is the most natural battleground of the whole earth’.
God will supernaturally intervene over this most natural battle ground, when the armies of the world assemble here to fight against Israel. This war will be fought at end of the reign of Antichrist. The nations of the world will bring their armies here. They will come with millions of soldiers, machine guns, military equipment, fighter jets, navy ships, aircraft carriers, missiles, and nuclear weapons. So, this is a war fought on a scale the world has never seen before.
Lord Jesus warned us in Matthew chapter 24:21,22
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.
No one can stop the great tribulation and Armageddon. They will happen at their appointed time. Zechariah says that God himself will fight against the nations of the world.
Verse 4: And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east.
As the supreme commander of God’s forces, Lord Jesus will stand upon the Mount of Olives.
The Mount of Olives has a special place in biblical eschatology. Eschatology is the big word for the study of end time prophecies. What is the national tree of State of Israel? It’s olive tree. Olive oil is the main ingredient in Mediterranean diet. In the Old Testament, it was used in anointments, in the lamp stand and in the offerings.
1 Kings Chapter 11: We see Solomon building shrines to pagan gods on Mt.Olives. Solomon, the great Solomon who built the greatest temple for God on Temple Mount also built shrines to idolatry. We can see the deception of paganism on Mt.Olives.
2 Samuel chapter 15: We see Absalom starting civil war in Israel. His father King David then fled to Mt. Olives. We can see civil war, corruption and betrayal on Mt.Olives.
Luke chapter 19, we see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem from Mt.Olives. The Messiah weeping for His people. We see the tears of our Savior on Mt.Olives.
Jesus spends his last night on Mt.Olives. Judas Iscariot comes to him, betrays him with a kiss for 30 pieces of silver. We can see betrayal and selfishness on Mt.Olives.
Paganism, idolatry, corruption, betrayal…we see the fallenness of humanity on Mt.Olives. In many ways, this mountain symbolizes the history of Israel and of mankind. Sitting on Mt.Olives, Lord Jesus unveiled God’s timeline for Israel and for humanity. In Matthew chapter 24, we read Olivet Discourse. In this famous speech, Lord Jesus gave us graphic details about the end times.
There is lot of bad news on Mt.Olives. But there is also good news. After his death and resurrection, Lord Jesus took his disciples over the Mt.Olives. After giving them the Great Commission, He ascended into heaven. We read in Acts chapter 1:11
The disciples were gazing at Christ ascending into heaven and the angels told them. ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven’.
What a joyful news! This same Jesus who is taken up from you will come back to receive you.
Jesus will come back in the same manner he went to heaven.
He went from Mt.Olives and He will come back to Mt. Olives.
Millions of people will leap in great joy on that glorious day. They will shout like Job,
‘For I know that my Redeemer liveth,
and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth’
What happens when Jesus sets his foot on Mt. Olives?
Zechariah continues in verse 4.
“….The Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley, and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north and half of it toward the south.”
How powerful! How forceful! Lord Jesus will enter into Jerusalem in such a glorious way. When he sets his foot on Mt.Olives, it will break away into two pieces making a great valley in between. Zechariah described how the Messiah would enter into Jerusalem during his first coming and the second coming. In the first coming, Messiah goes into Jerusalem riding a donkey. But in his second coming, he enters with earth shaking power. Jesus Christ is God in human flesh. In his first coming, he concealed his divine glory. Only on rare occasions like on the Mount of Transfiguration, did a few disciples like Peter, James and John were able to see his heavenly glory. But in his second coming, the whole world will see the divine splendour of Lord Jesus Christ. When he sets his foot on Mt.Olives, it will break into two halves, creating a large valley in between. Then the Jews fleeing Antichrist will go into this valley and save their lives. You see, Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate defender of Jewish people. Had our world followed the life and teachings of Lord Jesus Christ, there would have been no atrocities on Jews. AntiChrist will be Satan in human flesh. He will be the perfect antagonist to Christ. So, he will attack the Jews with full vengeance of hell. But Jesus will come to put an end to that massacre.
Let us continue with Zechariah 14:5
and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee.
God will come back with all his saints. Jesus told us in his Olivet Discourse.
“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and with great glory”. (Matthew 24:30)
The Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and with great glory. Don’t you want to see that glorious scene unfolding over Jerusalem? Lord Jesus Christ displaying his power and glory before this unbelieving world which rejected him as nothing more than a carpenter from Galilee.
While it will be a blessed time for believers it will be a dreadful time for unbelievers.
Let us see verse 12.
“And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people who have fought against Jerusalem: their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.”
What a horrible thing to fall in the hands of the living God?
What a terrible thing to fight against the power of God?
their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet. Instantaneous destruction will come upon all those people who encircle Jerusalem. They will be consumed within a few seconds by a plague sent by God.
Zechariah also described an earthquake that will shake this region. The entire topography of Jerusalem and surrounding regions will be changed. There will be living waters flowing from Jerusalem. Today Israel depends on desalination plants to meet its water needs. When the living waters come, they will close down these desalination plants. This desert will blossom like garden of Eden.
And men shall dwell in it,
and there shall be no more utter destruction
but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
Today Jerusalem is surrounded by enemies who want nothing but its destruction. Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Russia, Syria, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, they all love to see it destroyed. One Israeli leader said, ‘Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us’. The sad fact is peace will not come through any human leader.
President Trump has sent his son-in-law Jared Kushner to bring peace in the Mideast.
Son-in-law is not going to fix it. Son of God has to come.
Jesus Christ, the prince of peace will fix the problem.
He will bring peace to this region. Only then, shall Jerusalem be safely inhabited.
After the Battle of Armageddon, Lord Jesus will establish his millennial kingdom. There will be peace not only in Jerusalem but in the entire world.
And it shall come to pass that every one who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
The events in and around Jerusalem will get worldwide attention. The gentiles will see the glory and power of God. They will repent of their sins. They will come to Jerusalem to worship God. They will celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
The Tabernacle symbolizes the metanarrative of Christian faith. We are pilgrims and sojourners in this world. Like the tabernacle in the wilderness, this world is only our temporary dwelling. Our hope is in Christ.
Tabernacle is type of Christ.
There is rest, life, joy, light, security, satisfaction and hope inside the tabernacle.
Christ is our rest
Christ is our life
Christ is our joy
Christ is our light
Christ is our security, satisfaction and hope.
The gentiles and Jews will gather in Jerusalem to worship Lord Jesus Christ and to celebrate the great Feast of Tabernacles.
They will sing psalms.
O praise the Lord, all ye nations! Praise Him, all ye people!
For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord! (Psalm 117)
The stone which the builders refused has become the head stone of the corner.
This is the Lord’s doing. it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
(Psalm 118: 22-24)
Christ has been the rejected stone in human history. Many people don’t even want to acknowledge his place in history. The majestic AD, anno domini is now changed into CE, common era. This hopeless Common Era will end and Christian Era will start again when Jesus Christ becomes the head stone. And all God’s people will rejoice,
this is the Lord which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.
They will have a great time of worship and rejoicing in the Lord.
In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses: ‘Holiness unto the LORD’
And the pots in the LORD’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar;
yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORDS of hosts.
Finally, we have sanctification.
That is the teleology God set for mankind. You should be holy because I am holy.
Every object will bear the words, ‘Holiness unto the LORD’.
Today even Christians are scared of the word sanctification. But sanctification is the key to joy.
Satan convinced our world that holiness leads to joylessness and boredom and sin gives happiness and excitement. That’s a tragedy. Truth is sin brings despair and holiness brings joy.
In the millennial reign, even the bells of the horses will bear the inscription, ‘Holiness unto the Lord’.
God desires nothing less in our present lives. Can we use all objects for holiness?
Our computers, our cell phones, our televisions, our homes, our cars, most of all our bodies for the holiness of God?
Today a lady told me that she stopped abusing all drugs. I know her for many years. Her life was a mess. She was abusing marijuana, xanax, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl and whatever comes her way. Now she is clean. I asked her, ‘How did this happen? You are clean now’. She looked at me and said, ‘If something happens to me, how will take care of my child? I want to stay clean for my daughter’. She cleaned her life because she loved her child. Love and holiness go together. God says, I am holy and I am love. Love me and become holy. Loving God is the first step to become holy. In the millennial kingdom of Christ, people love God, they worship God and they become holy.
So, today we have seen the wonderful prophecies from Zechariah chapter 14. It’s about the glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Both Jews and Gentiles will be blessed when He returns to this world to establish his kingdom in Jerusalem.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, what a day that will be when you return to this world as King of kings and Lord of lords. What a day that will be when you return to this world as prince of peace. We pray that you comfort the hearts of Christians with this precious truth. In your loving name we pray. Amen.
Paul Kattupalli MD