Zechariah 12-14

Zechariah 12 and 13 are a single vision, and that vision stands in contrast to what follows in chapter 14 – even though, it too might be a part of that same vision. The vision begins with an attack upon Jerusalem and the region of Judah. It continues with their repentance and the acceptance of Jesus as their savior. Then, in 14, we see the fall of Jerusalem to the army of the Antichrist, the return of Jesus to rescue the survivors and His rule for a thousand years.

Of course, we need to take pieces of other scripture to fill in the gaps of what these three chapters do not say. They don’t mention Jesus by name, but He is clearly described. They don’t say ‘Antichrist’, but the man of lawlessness is the only one that this could be. And, we know that it is Jesus who is returning to rule for a thousand years, because He promised to return and do so. Our challenge is to accurately place this prophecy with the others that speak about this period of time.

Zechariah 12

Unfortunately, like so much of this effort to understand when Jacob returns, this chapter has numerous translation errors that are driving me crazy. Worse, these are very basic errors that no expert in Hebrew should make, which leaves me wondering at the incompetence of Bible translators. And, the first verse of Zechariah 12 leaves me gasping in outrage:

1 The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him:

That word, ‘against’ is deeply incorrect, and I am surprised that the NKJV translators changed what the KJV got right, into something so wrong. If you were reading just the NKJV, you would think that what follows was a prophecy of vengeance and destruction. It is not.

The word for ‘against’ here is על (pronounced like all). It means on, for, towards, about, upon. It does NOT mean ‘against’. The KJV says ‘concerning’, and that’s a good translation.

So, why did the NKJV people make this foul and revolting change?

And yes, this really is a foul and revolting ‘mistake’. And, I’m seriously beginning to wonder if these ‘mistakes’ are intentional. But, let’s move on.

2 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. 3 And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.

The word for ‘drunkenness‘ is also incorrect. It’s רעל (pronounced: rah’ahl), and it means ‘poison’, ‘venom’ or ‘toxin’. Yes, a poison, venom or toxin can give you symptoms of ‘drunkenness’, but translators should stick to the original word and not corrupt our interpretation of the Bible by inexact wording.

The same goes for ‘heave it away‘. The word is עמסיה (pronounced: ohm-sey-ha), and it means ‘burden’ or ‘load’. If you want to load something onto a truck, you use a cognate of that word: עומס. It does NOT mean ‘heave away’. The good thing is that the KJV pretty much got it right.

Then, there’s that phrase ‘cut in pieces‘. IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT!!! I’m sorry to shout like that, but these stupid errors are making me really hot under the collar. If I wanted to cut something in pieces, I WOULD NOT SAY שרוט ישרטו! It’s pronounced sah-rote yee-sah-reh-too, and it essentially means to scratch-scratch – or, more literally ‘scratch will scratch’. But, in Hebrew and many other languages, a word repeated is like saying ‘most’. If something is good-good, it’s the best. If it’s bad-bad, it’s the worst. If you get scratch-scratched, you have been mauled.

And again, we have another error in the word ‘against‘. It’s עליה (pronounced: ah-leh-yah). It means to go up to. Yes, in the context of the verse, it means ‘against’, but translators should not be making these kinds of decisions for us. It’s less egregious in its error, but it’s still a misrepresentation of the word.

Now that I have dealt with these foolish mistakes, let’s put all this into plain English.

When God talks about Israel, His primary focus is Jerusalem. Zion. It’s why it is entirely appropriate to call anyone who is pro-Israel, a Zionist. You simply do not have an ‘Israel’ without a ‘Zion’. Zion – Jerusalem – is the center and focus of Israel. It’s the center and focus of God. And, THAT is why I say that God is a Zionist:

http://www.ezekiel36-39.com/appendix/god-is-a-zionist/

And, if God is a Zionist, you should probably be one, too. He will one day rule from Zion, and He has made it abundantly clear that this tiny patch of ground is more important than any other place on Earth.

In fact, God says in verses two and three that He will maul anyone and everyone that causes trouble for Jerusalem. For Israel. If you mess with Zion, God will mess you up. You will be damaged so thoroughly, that you will deeply regret ever thinking even negative thoughts about the Jewish ownership of Jerusalem. But, let’s see what happens to those nations that come against Jerusalem, in verse four:

4 In that day,” says the Lord, “I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness.

Thankfully, the translation is reasonably good, so I don’t need to go off on another rant about bad translation. Unfortunately, there is a real need to focus on translation, since some of our misunderstanding of the Last Days comes from that.

Now, think carefully about what this means. Horses will be confused and blind. Riders – humans – will be driven blind. Most will think of this as something supernatural, and I’m sure that it will seem like that. But, we have scientific and engineering evidence that this really should be considered natural phenomena from a single event.

Ezekiel’s Fire – The Biggest Solar Flare in World History
http://www.ezekielsfire.com/

I don’t want to get into all the reasons WHY this is a solar flare – or worse, a micro-nova. The details would require a book to explain all the details properly, which is why I wrote Ezekiel’s Fire. So, I’m going to avoid talking about most of the reasons why this is a solar flare and talk more about the effects. And, let’s start with an assumption.

Let’s assume that God really is talking about horses.

How is it that horses could be struck with confusion or even blindness?

How could human beings be struck with madness by such a solar flare?

Over the years, those who pay attention to solar flare activity have noticed that big solar flares tend to correspond with outbreaks of psychosis. And, if there was a really, Really, REALLY big solar flare, we could safely assume that there would be an even larger outbreak of psychotic events – i.e., madness.

Would horses be struck with confusion?

Well, I would assume that horses could get confused, in the same way that humans were struck mad. But, blindness is another thing altogether.

Are these horses really being struck blind?

Or, maybe we should ask this question:

Are these really horses?

I strongly doubt it. Very strongly. In fact, I’m horrified at the thought that world energy supplies would collapse to such a low level that we would go back to riding horses. If that happened, billions of people would have died already and the survivors would be living in excruciating misery. So, if you wish to claim that these are really horses that go blind, get ready to suffer and die.

Furthermore, there’s almost no way to have a global, Antichrist system, if we are all forced to go back to a horse-powered transportation system. It’s either that, or the Antichrist only rules Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa. That’s about as big an empire that the Antichrist could rule, if horses were all that we had left. But, just to eliminate any doubts that you might have, let’s look at horses a bit.

Horses And Horsepower

Remember that the context of this verse and passage is the coming of Gog and Magog.

Is it possible that the armies of Gog and Magog will somehow be made up of HORSES?

Well, I guess that anything is possible, but it is clear to me that the army of Gog and Magog will include very few, if any, horses. But, I understand that many have been taught some pretty foolish theories about Gog and Magog, so I’ll take a moment to show you what it would mean for an army like this to use horses instead of mechanized transportation – such as personnel carriers, tanks and trucks.

No army in the world would resort to the use of horses, unless they were forced to. And, only something truly catastrophic would create such a situation. In fact, it would have to be a catastrophe that leaves most of the people of the world dead. Let me illustrate that for you.

I googled the word horsepower. The search result claims that one horsepower is equal to 745.7 watts of electricity. Most computers require that amount of electricity, if they are powerful enough to play recent computer games. One horsepower is also the amount of effort that it takes to lift the average person (75kg.) to a height of one meter, in one second. Let’s go further.

A Honda Civic Coupe is rated at 143 horsepower, and the Honda Accord Sedan is rated at 185 horsepower. Even the lowly scooter – like the Honda Cub – is about seven horsepower.

How many horses would it take to power a main battle tank?

Well, the celebrated M1 Abrams tank requires 1500 horsepower to operate. That’s a lot of horses and should give you an idea about how little power a horse has, in comparison to our current technology.

So, why did God refer to horses?

People at the time of Zechariah could not have imagined any other form of transportation. Therefore, God referred to horses because that was what Zechariah – and everyone else living before the 1800s – could understand.

Imagine the confusion if God had described people riding inside wheeled, metal and glass boxes powered by a magical black goo that came from deep underground. So, you can understand why God would mention horses. But, let me continue to talk about God’s meaning when He uses horses as a part of these passages.

If They Were Horses, The Situation Would Be WORSE

So, if you wish to believe that these are actual horses, then you might want to account for why Gog and Magog are using horses instead of tanks. Again, any scenario that would account for such a thing would also leave billions of people dead. Anything that forces Gog and Magog to use horses… well …it would turn the world into a wasteland. It would be far worse than Mad Max. At least, in the cinematic world of Mad Max, they still had some cars.

The point is that it would take an Earth-shattering catastrophe that is far worse than even Ezekiel’s Fire, for Gog and Magog to use actual horses. Ezekiel’s Fire is not NEARLY as bad a catastrophe as anything that would force us to use real-life, tail-swishing horses.

At a minimum, all the oil fields in the world would need to be destroyed, at the same time. You would also need to destroy our knowledge and ability to synthesize fuel from other sources – such as corn and sugarcane. Remember that even Hitler’s army and air force – during World War II – used a substantial number of crude oil substitutes to power their war machine.

In fact, I’m having trouble envisioning an event that would cause us to return to horses. So, we are forced to accept the fact that the mention of horses here is metaphorical.

Furthermore, we also know that God uses metaphors in prophecy. A quick read of the Book of Daniel would quickly demonstrate that our Lord does this routinely.

So, unless you wish to warp the interpretation of the prophetic scriptures, we really must accept that these horses that the Lord speaks of are not four-hooved beasts of burden. No, these are vehicles – cars, trucks, tanks, etc.

Why The Reference To Blindness

So, what does it mean to strike them with blindness?

Let’s think a bit about what the Lord is trying to say to us here. When you strike a horse with blindness, you don’t have to kill or destroy the horse. However, making a horse blind does keep it from doing anything useful. Let me try and move us towards a modern day interpretation of the horse.

Think of it this way. A blind horse won’t start. It won’t go anywhere on its own. Everything on the outside appears fine, except that the horse just won’t work.

You turn the ignition and nothing happens. Everything looks fine, except for the fact that the car/tank/truck won’t go.

Do we have any examples of something like this?

We do.

Electromagnetic Pulse – EMP

In the 1960s, the Soviet Union exploded a nuclear weapon at extremely high altitude. When they did this, the Soviets found that the starters of all the cars within a certain zone were burnt out. The same kind of thing happened when America detonated a nuclear bomb at high altitude over the Pacific Ocean. We call this phenomenon a nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse, or a nuclear EMP.

EMP comes in many different forms. It can be man-made, caused by a nuclear weapon detonated at high altitude. Or, it could come in the form of a massive solar flare, such as Ezekiel’s Fire:

And I will send a fire on Magog, and on them that dwell securely in the isles; and they shall know that I am Jehovah.

Ezekiel 39:6

When Ezekiel’s Fire comes, your horses – planes, trains and automobiles – will go blind. They won’t start. They won’t go anywhere. In fact, everything that runs on electricity will cease to work.

Water pumps will cease to work.

Gasoline stations won’t be able to pump gas.

Israel Will Need Help

Everything that you depend on that uses electricity will cease to operate. And, in a place like Israel where electricity is an absolutely essential component for survival… That would be catastrophic – unless Israeli power stations are shielded from such an event. And, I don’t think that they are.

What needs to be shielded?

The gigantic transformers that are found in every electricity plant, everywhere. You cannot generate very much electricity without room-and-house-sized transformers that convert DC electricity into AC. I can’t go into the details, but trust me when I say that those transformers are vital, vulnerable and extremely expensive.

If Israel is like America, she gets her power station transformers from South Korea. And, it takes MONTHS for the huge transformers used by power stations to be built and shipped, and most Israelis would die of thirst within days. Israel cannot exist without electricity, so I worry about what will happen to Israel when all the horses of Israel and Gog and Magog are struck with blindness.

Having said that, Isaiah 30 speaks of a change in Israel, one where fresh water will become readily available:

And there shall be upon every lofty mountain, and upon every high hill, brooks and streams of waters…

Isaiah 30:25

So, maybe I shouldn’t worry Israel and Israelis.

Unfortunately, Israel won’t be the only country affected by this solar flare. To varying degrees, the whole world will suffer the same fate. And that means, at a minimum, billions of people, around the world will be without electricity. This means that water won’t be pumped, and communications systems won’t work. And, in many places, cars won’t start. Trains won’t run, and airplanes won’t fly.

Can you survive without electricity, running water and transportation?

If you can’t, then you had better start working on an alternative. You can live three days without running water and thirty days without food.

Think about it.

However, we still have a lot left to talk about in Zechariah 12.

5 And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in the Lord of hosts, their God.’ 6 In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place—Jerusalem.

The word for ‘governor’ in that verse is actually ‘general’ or ‘military leader’ – אלוף (pronounced: ah-loof). It actually comes from the word אלף (pronounced: eh-lef), meaning thousand. So, a general is a leader of a thousand soldiers. But, NOT a governor. Why the translators chose ‘governor’ is a mystery.

The word ‘firepan’ is just ‘fire’, or אש (pronounced: esh). There is literally no reason to make it a pan.

This means that the Israeli military, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), will be fighting in the countryside surrounding Jerusalem. The Palestinians will be attempting to kill the Jews, and the IDF will be doing its best to defend the settlements like Gush Etzion, Efrat, Har Adar, Giv’at Ze’ev, Ma’ale Adumim and a host of others.

At the same time, Israel will be attacked in the north, by the forces of Gog and Magog. And, just as in 1967, the only soldiers defending Jerusalem will be reserve units, made up of Jerusalem residents. In fact, the situation will be so bad that everyone will be issued some kind of gun and asked to defend the city. When we get to chapter 13 of Zechariah, we’ll see that it will be a desperate time in which two thirds of everyone in the land of Israel will die. But, the next verse injects a bitter and ironic point:

7 “The Lord will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah.

God hates pride with a passion, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem have a history of incredible hubris. God is going to make sure that Jerusalem cannot claim the glory that she does not deserve.

8 In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them.

This is where some might want to jump in and say that Jesus returns with His armies and defends Jerusalem. But, that would be a mistake, because God explains HOW He will defend Jerusalem by strengthening and empowering the people to fight and overcome their enemies. And, the next verse shows us Gog and Magog:

9 It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

When Gog and Magog comes down their purpose will be to capture Jerusalem.

Why can I be so confident that this is the coming of Gog and Magog?

Because the same thing happens after that great battle:

So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day forward.

 – Ezekiel 39:22

And, that verse is reflected here, in the last verses of Zechariah 12:

10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; 14 all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.

The word for ‘look’ is הביט (pronounced: hee-beet), and it’s not the same as ‘see’ רואה (pronounced: roh-eh). The word ‘look’ (הביט) would be more accurately translated as ‘regard’ or ‘consider’. It’s a seeing from the heart, not the eyes. The word for ‘see’ (רואה) is about the eyes, and you don’t find that here.

Later, in Zechariah 14, the Lord will be visible. They will see Him with their eyes and won’t be mourning for Him.

Or, maybe I should put it another way:

If this was Jesus returning in triumph, would they be in mourning?

Of course not!

If this was the second coming of Jesus, there would be rejoicing and celebration. Their King has returned, and all things will be made right. But, that isn’t what we see here.

Here, we see the realization that the one that they had rejected for 2000 years, was (and is) the Messiah that they had been looking for. The veil that Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 3:16 will be torn away, and they will see the truth clearly – as you and I see it.

When we came to Christ, it was a deeply personal moment in time. We asked God to forgive us of our sins and accept us as His children. We turned from a sinful past and embraced the salvation that can only come through Jesus Christ. We accepted the perfect gift of Jesus and entered into the kingdom of God.

The Israelis will do the same thing.

But, that acceptance will bring with it a crushing realization that all of their culture… all of their yearning and learning was in rebellion to God. They will discover that their rabbis and sages were worse than just wrong. They will realize that their great teachers had deceived and blinded them. And, for two thousand years, their proud deception sent their ancestors into the eternal suffering and condemnation of Hell.

This will be a crushing realization. But, their days of mourning will be only for a moment, as their joy in the Lord overflows. To paraphrase Charles Dickens in the Tale of Two Cities:

It will be the best of times.

It will be the worst of times.

Those of use who survive that moment will be glad that we did, but it will be a very, very hard time. In fact, I believe that it will be the hardest moment in time since the Great Flood.

And, this vision given to Zechariah continues into chapter 13.

Zechariah 13

Strangely enough, the translator for this chapter did a good job of accurately representing what the Hebrew actually says. I’m a little surprised.

The important thing is that God reinforces the idea that the children of Jacob are saved from their sins in the exact same way that we have been. Just as each of us turned from our wicked ways and accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, they too will do the same. And, some very important points are made in this chapter that will help us put the last chapter, chapter 14, into proper perspective.

1 “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.

When you see words like that, within a vision, it means that God continues to speak about the period of time of the preceding part of this vision, but He is NOT talking about about a period of time that is 24 hours long.

…’that day’ could last for YEARS!

THAT DAY will only end, when the events described are complete. Days, weeks, months and years could go by, and THAT DAY will not be complete until all has been accomplished.

2 “It shall be in that day,” says the Lord of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land.

Wait. God is speaking of idols. We understand about false prophets and unclean spirits…

…but what are these idols?

Modern Idolatry in Jerusalem

When my wife and I were in Jerusalem in 2010, we had the chance to witness a new Torah scroll being installed in a local synagogue, nearby our apartment. It was remarkably like what happens with an idol in the kind of pagan temple that you find in Taiwan.

As I write this, I am in Taiwan, and we see almost exactly the same kind of procession. When the priests in a local temple in Taiwan decide that it is time for their god or goddess to go on a procession around the neighborhood, that procession looks remarkably like what happens when a new Torah scroll is installed in a synagogue.

Yes, that Torah scroll has the words of God printed on it, but that doesn’t matter. If you worship and bow down to ink and paper, it doesn’t matter if that ink and paper is formed into the words of God. It is still idolatry.

There is only one person that we should bow down and worship:

God, and God alone.

Bowing down to ink and paper is a sin, no matter what the words say.

And, there is also an idolatry of the heart. Any kind of worship that is not a worship of God is idolatry. The worship of ANYTHING that is not the truth is idolatry, and that includes Judaism.

What Is A Pagan

Judaism has rejected Christ – which means that all who participate in Judaism have also rejected Christ. And, the rejection of Christ is the definition of what it means to be a pagan. I do not care who you are or what you are, but if you do not believe that Jesus is everything that He said that He is… if you do not believe in everything that the New Testament says that Jesus is… YOU are a pagan. No exceptions.

Let me add that if you worship anything IN ADDITION to Jesus, that means that you are ALSO a pagan. Please understand that this includes the word ‘pray’. If you pray to Mary, you are a pagan. If you pray to Buddha, you are a pagan. If you pray to an ancestor or a rabbi, you are a pagan. If you pray to a saint, or any other dead person, you are a pagan.

Furthermore, since we are on the subject of idolatry, lots of things can be an idol – if you value that thing, more than God. Wife, family, children, parents, job, money, patriotism, appearance, intelligence and health… all of that… ALL can be idols – if we value any of these things more than we value God.

I guess that you might say that idolatry is a pretty common problem.

Two Thirds Of Israel Killed – Jacob’s Trouble

I am tempted to discuss the interpretation of verses three through seven. They are interesting and a bit confusing, when you think them through. I will leave that for you to consider. For us the bigger issue is in verses eight and nine:

8 And it shall come to pass in all the land,”
Says the Lord,
“That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
But one-third shall be left in it:
I will bring the one-third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’;
And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ”

The fact that two thirds of Israel will be killed is horrifying.

I know that there are many who claim that this doesn’t mean that two-thirds of Israel are killed, and I understand why they say that. The thought of two thirds of Israelis dying violently is just too much to think about. That is why many claim that this is a spiritual death. (which is WORSE!)

And frankly, it’s not correct. The Hebrew word for die, in the above passage is יגועו (pronounced: yig-va-oo). It means ‘they will die’. And, the root word is גוע (pronounced: gah-va). It literally means to physically expire. In fact, a variation of that word includes agony in that death. The word does NOT indicate a spiritual death. It’s physical.

More importantly, those who advocate the ‘spiritual death theory’ aren’t thinking this through. The people of Israel were ALREADY spiritually dead. Someone who is not spiritually alive, cannot spiritually die. So, a spiritual death is impossible. Israel is not spiritually alive today, so to spiritually kill two thirds of Israel is impossible.

No, this is a physical death, and it will be a terrible thing to see.

It’s also one of the reasons why I now understand what ‘Jacob’s Trouble’ really is. You find the reference to that, here:

Alas! For that day is great,
So that none is like it;
And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble,
But he shall be saved out of it.

 – Jeremiah 30:7

I’ll discuss Jeremiah 30, elsewhere. But, it should be clear to anyone willing to look at all of this with an open mind towards God – via the Holy Spirit – that this is talking about the time of the coming of Gog and Magog. It cannot be any other time.

A Bittersweet Prophecy

Zechariah 13 ends on a bittersweet note. All the survivors of this great tragedy, in Israel, will accept Jesus a their Lord and Savior, but it will also mean a tremendous amount of terrible difficulty and suffering.

As it says in the verse, it will be a refining process, and it is clear that it will be very hard. In fact, I am sure that many will wish that they HAD died, instead of going through such a time.

Many of you have experienced moments in time when you wished that you had died, instead of survived. The time is coming in which it will be Israel’s turn. And, I hate the thought of it, but this is the will of God. So, we must accept this as necessary – and prepare for it, if we can.

Now, contrast what we have seen in Zechariah 12 and 13 with Zechariah 14. Look carefully at the difference. It’s important.

Zechariah 14

I was not going to discuss this chapter along with 12 and 13, since it deals with the Second Coming and the time of the Millennium. But, since there is so much confusion over the timing of Jacob’s Return, we need to compare and contrast what God says about the Return of Jesus AFTER the salvation of Israel. And yes, this is a difficult puzzle piece to place as we seek to complete the picture that God is describing.

Why do they – and I – have trouble with it?

Because this chapter describes events differently than other chapters.

Here are the first two verses:

1 Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,
And your spoil will be divided in your midst.
2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
The city shall be taken,
The houses rifled,
And the women ravished.
Half of the city shall go into captivity,
But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Ezekiel doesn’t talk like that. Nor do the previous two chapters of Zechariah (12 and 13). In Ezekiel 38 and 39, God brings down Gog and Magog and their allies, NOT ‘all nations’. Lots of nations are missing from this account about the coming of Gog and Magog. And, remember that Zechariah 12 speaks of the generals being victorious, in and around Jerusalem:

6 In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place—Jerusalem.

Zechariah 12:6

As I said before, the word used for ‘governors’ is incorrect. The Hebrew uses the plural of אלוף (pronounced: ah-loof) – the word for general, the highest rank category in the Israeli military. So, the generals of Judah will burn up everyone that surrounds Jerusalem.

That sounds like victory and not defeat.

This is not God fighting directly. This is God using the generals and commanders of the Israeli army to defeat those that fight against Jerusalem. But, that’s chapter 12.

Zechariah 14 says that Jerusalem will be conquered. Women will be raped. Half the citizens will be put in chains and sent off to concentration camps. And, the city will be plundered.

THAT is a HUGE difference!

Then, a miracle happens:

3 Then the Lord will go forth
And fight against those nations,
As He fights in the day of battle.
4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south.

I have an important question about that word ‘then’. (In Hebrew, it’s actually a vav – which means ‘and’.)

How long is this ‘Then’? (or, ‘and’)

For a reason that God does not explain, He waits until half of the city of Jerusalem goes into captivity before descending upon the Mount of Olives and splitting it into two parts.

Again. Think about the difference between this chapter and the previous two:

Jerusalem is conquered.

Then, verse five tells us something that we can only find in the Book of Revelation:

5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley,
For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal.
Yes, you shall flee
As you fled from the earthquake
In the days of Uzziah king of Judah.
Thus the Lord my God will come,
And all the saints with You.

The survivors of this invasion of Jerusalem will flee through this incredible valley that is created by the splitting of the Mount of Olives. That, by itself seems impossible to me, since I don’t see how the Mount of Olives can split without splitting the Temple Mount in half, too. The Mount of Olives is literally a stone’s throw away from the Old City, so splitting that mount is going to split the city. At least, that’s what it would seem to me. But, this isn’t the most important part of this verse.

The most important part is this:

Thus the Lord my God will come,
And all the saints with You.

God comes with all the saints – or, in the Hebrew, כל קדשים (pronounced kole keh-doh-sheem), literally meaning ‘all holies’ (but, ‘all saints’ is fine). All the saints are coming with God…

Where have we heard that before?

Ah, right. Here:

11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.

– Revelation 19:11-16

That is the Return of Jesus. The only difference is that, in Zechariah 14, Jesus stands, with His feet, upon the Mount of Olives, and in Revelation, He rides a white horse. And no, this is not a serious difference. He can do both.

Now, as I think about this, it appears that Jesus comes first to rescue Jerusalem. Then, the armies of the world gather to fight against God:

19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

– Revelation 19:19

And, these ‘kings of the earth’ would seem to be the ‘kings of the east’ mentioned here:

12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”

16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

 – Revelation 16:12-16

That is the END of the Tribulation, and it all seems to follow along with what Zechariah 14 says – but NOT what Zechariah 12 and 13 say.

So, we have two battles:

The battle to rescue Jerusalem from the Antichrist.

The battle of Armageddon

And, it should be clear that Jerusalem DOES need to be rescued because Revelation 11 indicates that the city of Jerusalem given over to the Gentiles:

2 But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. 3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”

– Revelation 11:2-3

So, Jerusalem will be under the control of the Gentiles (or, nations, in the Greek) for three and a half years (42 months). And, I find myself understanding how the Antichrist takes over, a little differently. This is NOT a peaceful invasion.

Jerusalem is conquered.

By the Antichrist.

And, he holds Jerusalem for three and a half years because that’s what Revelation 11 means when it says that Jerusalem is given to the Gentiles. Notice also, that this implicitly means that the Jews had Jerusalem before the Antichrist takes it over.

So, as we try to fit Zechariah 14 with Revelation, let’s look at verse two again:

2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
The city shall be taken,
The houses rifled,
And the women ravished.
Half of the city shall go into captivity,
But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

– Zechariah 14:2

This looks like Jerusalem is attacked by the Antichrist, at the BEGINNING of his reign of terror – or, at least near the beginning. The alternative is to say that, at the end of his rule, the Antichrist needs to attack a city that he already holds, which doesn’t make sense.

Furthermore, the words of Jesus to reinforce this idea of a violent takeover of Jerusalem at the beginning of the Great Tribulation:

15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

– Matthew 24:15-22

That ‘abomination of desolation’ is definitely the Antichrist. No doubt about it, and when he stands in the ‘holy place’, you need to run.

Why would you need to run?

Because Jerusalem is about to be invaded by the armies of the Antichrist.

Otherwise, you could take your time. Otherwise, you would have the time to pack a backpack. But, Jesus says that you will have so little time, that taking a detour of just a few minutes will cause you to be captured.

It sounds like the announcement by the Antichrist will be the signal to his army to start the encirclement of Jerusalem and then the invasion. Once the roadblocks are set up, you won’t be able to escape. And now that I think about it, there really aren’t that many roads out of Jerusalem, or even out of the Jerusalem Hills.

A Tiny Rant About Daniel 9

Okay, since Jesus said, ‘whoever reads, let him understand’, I feel the need to explain why I think that He needed to say that. First of all, it means that verse 15 is going to be difficult to understand.

Why?

Well, I think that we already have one reason:

We are mixed up over what passage that Jesus was speaking about.

Most Christians, when they see ‘abomination of desolation’, immediately think of Daniel 9:27. But, that is entirely incorrect. Daniel 9 does NOT talk about the Antichrist. Ever. Not once. But, Daniel 8 does. And, Daniel 12 does. In fact, Daniel 8 and 12 are vital for those who want to understand what the Antichrist will do.

If you want to read more about this mix-up that we have gotten ourselves into, go to the Appendix where I’ve written an article on the controversy over Daniel’s 70th Week:

http://www.ezekiel36-39.com/appendix/daniels-70th-week/

But Wait, Let’s Look At Daniel 8

I’m getting a little off track here, but I think that the reference by Jesus, to pay attention to Daniel 8 and 12 are important for us to understand how the Antichrist rises to power and then conquers Jerusalem. And, Daniel 8 gives us a time frame for how much time the Antichrist has to take over the world and then conquer Jerusalem before finally falling:

2300 days

That is the entire span of time for the Antichrist to rise, rule and then fall. But, he doesn’t declare himself to be God on day one. He waits for over a thousand days, until he is ready to conquer Jerusalem. Once Jerusalem is conquered, the 42 month clock (Revelation 11:2) starts ticking. In fact, it doesn’t seem that this guy is the Antichrist UNTIL he makes that declaration that he is God.

Remember that the Book of Revelation talks a lot about the antichrist ruling for 3.5 years. The two witnesses preach for three and a half years – less 17 days. The woman in Revelation 12 is protected from the dragon for a time, times and a half of a time – 3.5 years. Jerusalem is trampled under foot for 42 months (3.5 years). Daniel 12 speaks of a time, times and a half.

So, let’s do a little math:

3.5 years is 1277 days.

2300 days minus 1277 days is 1023.

So, the Antichrist conquers the world for 1023 days before claiming to be God.

There will be some uncertainty in how all those numbers work out. For instance, there could be a certain number of days between the Antichrist’s declaration and the moment when that 3.5 year reign begins. So, try not to make a big deal about the numbers themselves. The point is to demonstrate that there is a phase of about 2.8 years, where the Antichrist is making his move towards power. And, maybe we’ll be able to watch him do it.

Adding In Daniel 12

And, since Jesus is probably also referring to Daniel 12, let’s look at the numbers there:

1290 days, or three years six months and twelve (and a half) days

1335 days, three years, seven months and twenty seven days.

The 1290 days start when the Antichrist proclaims himself to be God. But, that time period is 12 or 13 days longer than the 3.5 years that are talked about elsewhere.

What does this almost two week period mean?

Your guess is as good as mine, but this could be the amount of time that it takes for him to actually take over Jerusalem. Yes, his army will have encircled the city and blocked off all the escape routes, but it would still take time for him to actually finish his invasion.

What is the difference between the 1290 days and the 1335 days?

Daniel doesn’t explain that second number, other than that you are blessed if you make it to that point. And, I’m assuming that 1335 is just the 1290 days plus 45 days. This could be completely incorrect.

Daniel 12 might be talking about two time periods that are 1290 days and then 1335 days. Add them together, and you get 2625 days. And, I am mystified by that number. If any of you have any insight into these numbers mentioned in Daniel 12, please share it with us.

Eventually, we’ll figure it out, when the time is right.

Back To The Words Of Jesus

But, this has been quite a detour away from our main point, so let’s retreat from the prophet Daniel and look again at what Jesus told us:

When you see the Antichrist proclaim himself to be God, run!

Why do you need to run?

Because the Antichrist is about to conquer Jerusalem!

Back To Zechariah 14

All of that was necessary to explain what Zechariah 14:2-4 is talking about. Let me remind you again what verse two says:

2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
The city shall be taken,
The houses rifled,
And the women ravished.
Half of the city shall go into captivity,
But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

– Zechariah 14:2

For three and a half years, the city of Jerusalem will be plundered. Women will be raped, and half of the population will go to concentration camps or prison, or something like that. But – and this is important – half of the population of Jerusalem will remain. It will be an awful, horrifying time, but they will survive.

Those survivors will see what happens in verse three and four:

3 Then the Lord will go forth
And fight against those nations,
As He fights in the day of battle.
4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south.

 – Zechariah 14:3-4

In verse five, the remnant of Jerusalem that has survived the horrors of the Antichrist will flee through the valley created by the splitting of the Mount of Olives. And, from there Zechariah details the end of the Great Tribulation and then what the Millennium will look like.

Okay, if you have gotten this far, I’ve taken you through a pretty wild ride. And, I could have probably dug a little deeper into Zechariah 14 to tease out more of the details that might help us understand how the Antichrist and his Beast System will take over the world and destroy so many Christian lives. But, that’s not the topic of this book. We’ll talk about the Antichrist in more detail, at another time – Lord willing.

What YOU need to see is the difference between Zechariah 12 through 13 and Zechariah 14. In 12 and 13, Jerusalem is NOT conquered and the children of Jacob are victorious, even though the price is so high. In 14, Jerusalem is conquered for three and a half years before Jesus returns to destroy the enemy.

In Zechariah 12 and 13 we see Gog and Magog

In Zechariah 14 we see the Antichrist and the Second Coming.

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