Zechariah 12 and 13 are a single vision, and that vision stands in contrast to what follows in chapter 14. 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… an army, and that army seems to be the one that is described, when Revelation speaks of Armageddon. And, we know that the army at Armageddon is being led by the Antichrist.
Of course, we need to take pieces of other scripture to fill in the gaps of what these three chapters do not say. Zechariah doesn’t mention Jesus by name, but we see Him in these chapters because of the New Testament. And, we know that it is Jesus who is returning to rule for a thousand years in chapter 14, because He promised to do so. Our challenge is to accurately place these prophecies in their proper place, with the others that speak about this period of time.
So, let’s begin with Zechariah 12.
Unfortunately, like so much of this effort to understand the timing of Jacob’s return, this chapter has numerous translation errors. Worse, these are very basic errors that no expert in Hebrew should make, which leaves me wondering at the competence of Bible translators.
How is it possible that anyone would hire translators with such an awful understanding of Hebrew?
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:
TRANSLATION NOTE: That word, ‘against’ is deeply incorrect, and I am surprised that the NKJV translators changed what the KJV got right, into something so horribly 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 an abominable ‘mistake’. And, there’s a part of me that suspects that 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.
TRANSLATION NOTE: 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!!! If I wanted to cut something in pieces, I WOULD NOT SAY שרוט ישרטו! (pronounced sah-rote yee-sah-reh-too) 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‘. This time 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.
God’s Love Of Zion
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:
God Is A Zionist
And, if God is a Zionist, you should be one, too. He will one day rule from Zion, and He has made it abundantly clear that the tiny patch of ground where King David’s city stood, 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 crush you. You will be damaged so thoroughly, that you will deeply regret ever thinking even negative thoughts about the Jewish ownership of Jerusalem.
The Solar EMP
And, in this next verse we see the Solar EMP that happens to those nations that come against Jerusalem:
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 of this verse is reasonably good, so I don’t need to go off on another rant about translation mistakes)
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 a natural phenomena from a single event.
Ezekiel’s Fire – The Biggest Solar Flare in World History
I’ve already mentioned some of the reasons why this is a superflare or even a micronova. Getting into all the details would require a book to explain it properly, which is why I wrote Ezekiel’s Fire. So, I’m going to avoid talking about most of the reasons for why this is a superflare will happen and talk more about the effects. And, let’s start by considering a more literal interpretation of this passage.
Are These Really Horses?
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 powerful 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, a superflare, 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 ride HORSES?
Well, with God, anything is possible, but we also know that symbolism, metaphors and euphemism are used by God, throughout the Bible. The key lies in determining which is which. And we do that by testing each interpretation to see which one fits the best. So, let’s look at a literal interpretation of ‘horses’ in this chapter.
Google 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 or run powerful graphics and video editing software. 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.
How many horses would it take to power a main battle tank?
Well, the celebrated M1 Abrams tank requires 1500 horsepower to operate effectively. That’s a lot of horses and should give you an idea about how little power a horse has, in comparison to our current vehicles.
Would any general in his right mind, willingly uses horses instead of tanks?
I can tell you that there is not a single, sane military officer that would prefer horses over engine-powered vehicles. Horses are weak, slow and easy to kill. For a relatively tiny amount of fuel, tanks are fast and provide decisive, battle-winning firepower. The horse-drawn wagons needed to feed and support this invasion by Gog and Magog would need to be unimaginable in number.
If They Were Horses, The Situation Would Be WORSE
Furthermore, the only reason why we would use horses is because we ran out of not just fuel, but also the knowledge and ability to produce even alcohol-based fuel. Alcohol fuels are not difficult to create and losing the ability to do so would mean that our world will have gone through a horrific dark age. Losing the knowledge and understanding of how to create fuel from corn, sugar cane and other vegetable matter is completely impossible – unless civilization collapsed so hard and so fast that everything written down was destroyed, everyone with the knowledge died and all the simple machines that create and use alcohol fuels were completely obliterated.
Furthermore, even having to resort to alcohol fuels instead of petroleum-based fuels, would mean – at an absolute minimum – that all the oil fields in the world would have been destroyed. You would also need to destroy all knowledge of how to synthesize fuel from other sources, such as coal and natural gas. 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.
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.
So, if Zechariah 12:4 is referring to the domesticated horse, prepare for the total collapse of human civilization, a catastrophic dark age and the death of three quarters of the earth’s population. It would require something like a full-scale, global nuclear war, for something like this to happen. Even then, it’s still hard to believe that we would lose the knowledge of how to make and fuel the internal combustion engine.
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.
Why Refer To Horses?
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. Not only would that be incomprehensible, but God would not want to leave hints about how to get a petrochemical civilization started.
Would you really want the Roman Empire to have tanks and airplanes?
Because that’s probably what would happen, if God described cars and trucks and how they work.
What a bizarre and scary thought. Rome was bad enough with their innovative use of concrete and stone.
The bottom line is that we are forced to accept the fact that the mention of horses here is metaphorical. In fact, we would be warping and distorting the interpretation of the prophetic scriptures, if we insist on claiming that the Lord is speaking of 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 aren’t killing the horse. However, you would be keeping it from ever doing anything useful.
Think of it this way. A blind horse won’t start. It won’t go anywhere on its own. Everything on the outside will appear fine, except that the horse just won’t work.
You turn the ignition and nothing happens. Everything looks okay, except for the fact that the car/tank/truck won’t go.
Do we have any examples of something like this?
Surviving An 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 were burnt out, in all the cars within a certain radius around the test site. 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.
An EMP can come 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, a superflare, 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 ASV
When Ezekiel’s Fire comes, your horses – planes, trains and automobiles – will go blind. They won’t start. They will cease to operate. They will turn into hunks of metal and plastic that will quietly sit in your driveway or on your street – immobile. Forever.
Just as bad will be the elimination of electricity networks across the globe. Everything electrical that was not directly destroyed by this EMP, will cease to work, because all the gigantic, custom-built transformers at every power station will be destroyed. This means that water will stop being distributed to buildings and homes.
In just a few days after this event, everyone will die – if they do not have access to free-standing, drinkable water. And, that’s due to the fact that electric water pumps are the number one way that water is distributed throughout the developed world, and even the less-developed world. Hundreds of millions of people will die of thirst. Probably more than a billion.
There might be places in the world where the effects of such a solar EMP would be reduced. Some have said that countries near the earth’s equator will suffer fewer effects than those farther north or south. This is due to the nature of Geomagnetically Induced Current (GIC), which is weaker near the equator, during solar storms. However, Ezekiel’s Fire will be so tremendous that it’s hard to point to any place that would be safe.
Whatever your location, you need to ask yourself this question:
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.
The Generals And Jerusalem
So, we’ve killed more than a billion people in just the first four verses of Zechariah 12. Let’s look at the next two verses:
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.
TRANSLATION NOTE: 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.
Verses five and six mean that the Israeli military, called the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), will be fighting in the countryside around Jerusalem, and south of 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 from the north, by the forces of Gog and Magog. And, just as in 1967, the only soldiers defending Jerusalem itself 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 weapon 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.
The Opposite Of Armageddon
Now, notice a striking difference between verse seven and the result of the Battle of Armageddon. We’ll see this more clearly in Zechariah 14, but we need to make note of it here:
In Zechariah 14, Jerusalem becomes the center of the world.
In Zechariah 12:7, God makes sure that Jerusalem is NOT.
In Zechariah 14, God saves Jerusalem first.
In Zechariah 12:7, Jerusalem comes second.
That’s a strong set of differences, but we aren’t done yet. This next verse is where we see the average citizen engaged in fighting:
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.
In chapter 14, we will see Jesus stand on the Mount of Olives and split it in two. We will also see the armies of heaven in that chapter. But, we see none of that here, and it would be wrong to inject into this verse what is not described.
In Zechariah 14, Jerusalem is conquered, the women raped and half the city goes into captivity
In Zechariah 12:8, the inhabitants of Jerusalem successfully defend the city, with even the weakest being so incredibly strong that they will slay all their enemies, just like David did.
In Zechariah 14, Jerusalem is rescued by God Himself.
In Zechariah 12:8, God gives the inhabitants of Jerusalem the supernatural strength and ability to defend themselves.
It just isn’t possible for the army of the Antichrist to rape ANY woman, if the weakest woman in Jerusalem will be able to slay giants with smooth stones and a sling. We’re talking about the oldest grandmother or grandfather being able to beat up and subdue the strongest soldier. And, if the strongest is like the Angel of the Lord, then no one and nobody is going to take Jerusalem. Period.
Now, you might make the argument that God waits until Jerusalem is conquered before giving the citizens of Jerusalem the power to fight back, but that’s pretty weak.
in addition to all the other arguments that we have.
Gog And Magog Appear
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 come 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 in this chapter, that happens in Ezekiel 39 – specifically, this verse:
So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day forward.
Salvation Through Faith
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.
TRANSLATION NOTE: 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. In this chapter, God is pouring out his Holy Spirit upon them. Seeing with the eyes and regarding via the Holy Spirit are two very different things. Yet, that doesn’t stop false teachers from claiming that they are the same thing.
What is happening here, in Zechariah 12 is the salvation through faith. Most of you should know the following passage:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
I could quote verse after verse about salvation coming through faith. If there was any other way, God would have told us. And, it is clear to me that salvation through faith and the indwelling – even baptism – of the Holy Spirit is what is happening here.
In Zechariah 12:10-14, we see the realization that the one that they have been rejecting for 2000 years, was (and is) the Messiah that they were looking for. The veil on their heart that Paul talks about in 2 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 ways 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 moment. In fact, I believe that it will be the most difficult period of time since the Great Flood.
And, this vision given to Zechariah continues into chapter 13.
(Remember that the chapter divisions were not inspired by God.)
Strangely enough, the translator for Zechariah 13 did a good job of accurately representing what the Hebrew actually says. I’m a little surprised.
This chapter continues the prophecy that began in chapter 12, and in this chapter God reinforces the idea that the children of Jacob are saved from their sins in the exact same way that we have been saved from ours. Just as each of us turned from our wicked ways and accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior – THROUGH FAITH – they too will do the same. And, some very important points are made in this chapter that will help us put the next chapter, chapter 14, into proper perspective.
The Salvation Of Israel Continues
Here’s the first verse of Zechariah 13:
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. Okay, that might have shocked a few of you, so let me explain.
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 and destined for eternal punishment.
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.
This means that it’s not hard to be a worshiper of idols. It’s easy to fall into something like this, so we need to be extremely careful that we always, always love God far more than we love anything else. I tell everyone that my wife is the second-best thing that ever happened to me, which gives me an opportunity to talk about the first-best. The far and away first-best. And, I am thankful to be married to someone who also places me a distant second to God.
The Spiritual Condition Of Israel Afterwards
I was going to skip the next few verses, but then I reconsidered.
Because it identifies the spiritual condition of Israel, after these events. It shows the passion with which the average person worships God. So, let’s look at verses three through six:
3 It shall come to pass that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who begot him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, because you have spoken lies in the name of the Lord.’ And his father and mother who begot him shall thrust him through when he prophesies.
4 “And it shall be in that day that every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies; they will not wear a robe of coarse hair to deceive. 5 But he will say, ‘I am no prophet, I am a farmer; for a man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.’ 6 And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’
TRANSLATION NOTE: When verse three says ‘shall thrust him through‘, it literally just means ‘stab him‘ – דקרהו , pronounced dah-kar-roo-ho.
In another error, the word ‘arms‘ is actually ‘hands‘. I know that suffering a wound ‘between your hands’ doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that’s what the Bible actually says. Translators should translate the Bible and leave the interpretation up to the reader.
This will mean that the Children of Israel will love God more than their own children. This will be a gigantic change from the way that Israeli parents raise their children now. Right now, the average child is put on a pedestal by their parents. If there’s anything that the average Israeli worships, it’s their children. There is no sacrifice too big, when it comes to loving your kids.
This created something of a problem for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), in the early years of Israel’s founding. Israel’s little darlings had to be straightened out and given a strong dose of discipline, if Israel was to survive. This has placed the IDF in the role of ‘tough parent’. And, there probably isn’t any military in the world that is better at turning pampered, irresponsible children into mature, trustworthy adults.
So, this is a very big deal. Israeli parents will truly place God first. In every way. And, probably for the first time ever, Israelis will be on the lookout for heresy, and won’t tolerate it when they find it.
Now, think about the depth of this change of heart.
Is this something imposed upon them from outside?
By the imposition of Torah?
No, this is the operation of God, where He takes away the heart of stone, and replaces it with a living heart. This is a spiritual transformation from the inside out. And, the verses that describe the Millennium don’t seem to reflect such a transformation.
During the Millennium righteousness is imposed. Maybe it’s just me, but I get the feeling that people are righteous during the thousand year reign of Christ, because the price for rebellion will be way, way too great. Sin will not be tolerated, and sinners will always suffer punishment.
I’ve spent a lot of time looking at how different societies work. And, how they don’t work. And why. And, it has become clear to me – and others – that civilizations fall apart when people realize that they can break the rules and not suffer punishment. And, our experience has been that a civilization peaks after about a century and then falls quickly. Some can limp along a little longer if there isn’t much competition, but overall, humanity has a terrible record for keeping their society functioning.
We are all irredeemably corrupt, even you and me. And, the only way that we can truly prosper is if God comes and imposes a set of perfect rules, and makes sure that everyone follows them perfectly.
Then, as if to prove the point, after the Millennium is over God eases up on His control, and then the most perfect civilization ever, will fall apart. We really are that stupid. But, we’ve gotten off the topic.
The point that I’m trying to make is that the spiritual condition of Israel following Gog and Magog is different than the aftermath of Armageddon. This isn’t an extremely strong assertion, but it is something for you to consider.
A Verse About Messiah
The next verse, is one that Jesus quoted:
7 “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
Against the Man who is My Companion,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered;
Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
Jesus quoted Zechariah, here:
31 Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:
‘I will strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
Jesus was referring to His arrest and trial, and the scattering of His disciples. Yet, the context seems to be more than just Messiah, because of what comes after. But, this isn’t the only time that God throws in a Messianic verse that doesn’t seem to fit.
Just look at Isaiah 7:14-17. That passage talks about the virgin birth of Christ, right when Isaiah talks about the coming destruction of Israel’s northern kingdom. It’s completely out of context. But, we know that Jesus was born of a virgin, and we know that the northern kingdom was destroyed. So, we shouldn’t stumble over a verse that talks about Messiah, while also describing something else.
We understand the scattering of the disciples, when Jesus was arrested, and I’m afraid that we can understand this next verse. And, I really don’t want to.
Two Thirds Of Israel Killed – Jacob’s Trouble
Verses eight and nine fill me with dread:
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:
9 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 the physical death of two-thirds of Israel, and I understand why they say that. The thought of two thirds of Israelis dying through violence of earthquake is just too much for many of us to think about. But, the Hebrew speaks for itself.
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 in any way.
Also, those who advocate the ‘spiritual death theory’ aren’t thinking this through. The people of Israel were ALREADY spiritually dead. Someone who was never 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 completely impossible. So, please discard this ‘spiritual death’ theory, if you hold it.
But, the physical death of so many… it will be a terrible thing to see.
Accepting the sheer horror of this event is one of the reasons why I finally understood that ‘Jacob’s Trouble’ really is about Gog and Magog and the Return of Jacob. This is the core verse:
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.
I’ll discuss Jeremiah 30, much later.There is literally no other way to look at this – if our hearts and minds are truly towards God, and if we have the Holy Spirit. This really is talking about the time of the coming of Gog and Magog. It cannot be any other time.
A Bittersweet Prophecy
This death and destruction, coupled with spiritual salvation, is a bittersweet note for Zechariah 13 to end on. 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, there will be a refining process, and it should be clear that it will be very, very hard. In fact, I am sure that many will wish that they HAD died, instead of going through what will come after.
Many of you have experienced moments in time when you wished that you had died, instead of surviving. 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. And He really knows that this is the best way. 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 what we will see next, in Zechariah 14. Look at the differences carefully. It’s important.
I was going to discuss chapter 14 separately, since it deals with the Second Coming and the time of the Millennium. But, seeing the direct contrast between this chapter and the previous two is valuable. This chapter also gives us a closer look at Armageddon, in a way that we do not see anywhere else.
Remember that we are trying to identify the difference between three (or two) events – Gog and Magog, the Antichrist and Armageddon.
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.
Notice the difference between this passage and those that we have already been looking at. It starts off with ‘Behold’. That is already the kind of word that separates this chapter from the previous two.
It also mentions that God will gather ALL THE NATIONS. This is an important identifier, since Ezekiel describes only some of the nations. In fact, a lot less than half of the nations of the world are involved in Gog and Magog. This is a big difference.
Notice also how the fighting at Jerusalem is described in Zechariah 12. It 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.
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 is victory. Not defeat.
God uses the generals and commanders of the Israeli army to defeat those that fight against Jerusalem in Zechariah 12. But, the description in chapter 14 is radically different.
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!
Think of how long it would take to carry off more than half a million people. This would take weeks or even months – especially if the population was not unwilling to cooperate with their captivity. There is just no way that you can compare these two verses with the previous two chapters, or with Ezekiel 38 and 39.
Then, in the next two verses, another radical difference is seen, a difference that is also not seen previously:
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.
Notice the beginning of verse three. The first word is…
The translators made – yet again – another mistake. It’s a mistake that no one with even the most basic skill in Hebrew would make. The Hebrew doesn’t say ‘then’. It says ‘and’ – using the Hebew letter vav, ו.
How long does this word ‘and’ last?
I originally thought that verses one and two might have been the army of the Antichrist. It is always possible that God draws the Antichrist to attack Jerusalem, but that does not appear to the be context of this chapter. This chapter talks about Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. And, there is no description of the Antichrist in this chapter.
Just remember that the Antichrist is cast into the Lake of Fire in Revelation 19, and that is at the end of the Battle of Armageddon. So, the Antichrist is still a part of the effort to defeat God, one last time. And, this last attempt is all about Jerusalem.
Where do you assemble when you want to attack Jerusalem?
In Hebrew, it is הר מגידו – or, Har Megiddo. And, Har Megiddo lies right at the main exit from the Jezreel Valley, for those who desire to invade Jerusalem. Jezreel is the perfect assembly point for a large army, so it makes a lot of sense that this army would gather there, to attack Jerusalem.
Why would the Antichrist need to attack Jerusalem?
We already know that the Man of Lawlessness controlled Jerusalem for 42 months (3.5 years, Revelation 11:2), but now we see that the Antichrist attempts to capture Jerusalem again.
Well, notice where Armageddon happens in Revelation:
Then, ask yourself this question:
What happens before those two passages?
The seven seals
The seven trumpets
The seven vials/bowls
All of that happens before Armageddon. In fact, Armageddon happens at the seventh bowl/vial. And, you’ll notice how the leaders of the world react when the sixth seal is opened:
15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
Oh, and THIS is part of the reason why they were so terrified:
12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.
If you saw all that, and had spent more than three years attempting to kill all the followers of God, you would run away. And, that’s probably what would have happened at Jerusalem, when God’s power is revealed. They would drop everything and flee in terror.
Remember also that the Antichrist won’t be able to sit still. Daniel 11 refers to all the battles that he needs to fight, to stamp out everyone that opposes him. So, even though he conquers Jerusalem, he can’t stay in Jerusalem. This means that he needs to leave behind a ‘quisling’ government to control Jerusalem, while he’s gone. And, that government runs away in terror, when God does miracles in the heavens.
In response, the Antichrist ‘rallies the troops’ and retakes Jerusalem as the rest of the world’s armies assemble in Jezreel – at Armageddon. This is when Jesus returns to the Mount of Olives, splitting it in two giving the rest of the inhabitants of Jerusalem the ability to escape this invasion.
This is literally the only way that I’ve been able to figure out how verses one through four fit together and actually make sense. If someone has a better understanding, please bring it forward. I’m always open to informed insight.
The Armies of Heaven
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.
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 include 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.
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 after the Great Tribulation:
The Rescue Of Jerusalem
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.”
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.
Jerusalem Conquered By The Antichrist
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.
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.
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:
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 Daniel 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 – Daniel 8:14
That is the entire span of time for the Antichrist to begin his conquest, 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 could be conquering the world for 1023 days before claiming to be god.
(or, it could be something else)
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 might be a phase of about 2.8 years, where the Antichrist is making his move towards power.
The Antichrist will control most of the world before he begins conquering those nations that still resist him. Revelation speaks of the the great deception that the Antichrist will use to capture most of the world. And, in Matthew 24, Jesus spoke of just how powerful that deception would be:
For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
The deception will be so good, even the truest of Christians would be deceived, except for the God keeping them from being deceived. Oh, and you’ll notice that there seem to be more than one ‘false christ’.
So, be ready for one or more Antichrists to stand up, before the big one – the one who chops off heads.
Adding In Daniel 12
But… Daniel 12 gives us more numbers that we need to consider:
11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.
Okay, so we have two time frames, and they both seem to disagree with Daniel 8:14.
1290 days, or three years six months and twelve or thirteen days
1335 days, three years, seven months and twenty seven days.
The 1290 days start when the Antichrist tells everyone to stop following Christ and sets up his image. But, that time period is 12 or 13 days longer than the 3.5 years that are talked about elsewhere.
Does he ban Christianity two weeks before proclaiming himself to be god?
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. It might take that amount of time for his army to encircle the city and block off all the escape routes. That might explain the extra twelve or thirteen days.
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. The question is…
What ARE these extra days?
What time period is this?
Do we subtract the first number from the second?
My lazy mind is tempted to do just that. Tacking on an extra 45 days is easier to explain than trying to understand these extra 3 years and 240 days. But, instead of being lazy, let’s reach out to Daniel 8:14 and see the number of days in that verse figures in with our calculations.
Daniel 8 speaks of the Antichrist opposing God, conquering countries and generally causing lots and lots of trouble. And, a ‘holy one’ asked how long all of that would last. Another ‘holy one’ responded by saying that it would take:
That’s more than two years longer than the 3.5 years that the Antichrist rules Jerusalem. I was ready to claim that the extra time happens BEFORE the 3.5 year period. But, Daniel 12 talks about a period of time that is AFTER this period of time. So, let’s do some more math:
Daniel 8:14 – 2300 days
Daniel 12:11 – 1290 days
2300 – 1290 = 1010 days
So, bringing in Daniel 12, we might be able to say that the Antichrist is still running around for Two years and 280 days, as he assembles the nations at Jezreel – and retakes Jerusalem. The extra 325 days might be the ‘cleanup’ period as the remnants of the armies at Armageddon are hunted down, destroyed and then buried.
Why do I say 325?
Because that second number describe in Daniel 12, then one mentioned in verse 12, where you are blessed if you reach the period that 1335 days long:
Daniel 12:12 – 1335 days
Subtract the 1010 extra days
325 day ‘cleanup period’
Unfortunately, we could be wrong about this, too. The correct calculation might actually be somewhere in between. The 2300 days of Daniel 8 might start a few months before the Antichrist declares himself as god.
I’m not really sure how this calculation should go. And, I seriously doubt that anyone else does, either. God is deliberately leaving this as a mystery until it no longer needs to be a mystery.
So, I caution you against making hard and fast rules about how this is supposed to play out. We don’t have all the details, so we should wait until things become much clearer. Speculating about this is fine, as long as you know that your speculations do not come from God, and are therefore prone to error.
Those 1335 Days – Daniel 12:12
We also haven’t entirely answered the question about what goes on during the 1335 days mentioned in Daniel 12:12. All that we know is that we are blessed if we reach that period of time.
Is this when the rapture happens?
We are in the area of speculation here, but let’s take a quick stab at what happens during this time:
Does it take almost four years for the Battle of Armageddon to be complete?
Remember that the quisling government of the Antichrist seems to flee Jerusalem when the signs of God’s return start appearing. THAT might be the moment when this 1335 day time period begins.
If I am correct, the armies of the nations – still led by the Antichrist – will recapture Jerusalem. There will be some delay, long enough for half of Jerusalem to be depopulated, before Jesus returns to the Mount of Olives, splits it in half and gives the remnant of the city’s population a way to escape. During this time, the armies of the nations gather in the Jezreel Valley, at Har Megiddo, to attack Jerusalem.
After the battle of Armageddon is finished, there might need to be a period of ‘cleanup’. Dead bodies would need to be buried. Any pockets of resistance that remain would need to be eliminated.
All of that could take one thousand, three hundred and thirty five days. It sounds strange to me that it would take this long, but there might be big reasons for that. Remember that the seals, trumpets and bowls/vials will have messed up the geography of the world. It would probably take a while for all those soldiers and military equipment to make it to Jezreel.
Furthermore, Daniel 12 speaks of a special blessing that we will receive if we make it to the 1335 day period. What is meant by this blessing, is a mystery.
Eventually, we’ll figure it out, when the time is right.
Back To Zechariah 14
Okay, if you have gotten this far, I’ve taken you through a pretty wild ride. And, we’ve only gotten to verse five. So, let’s look at the next one:
6 It shall come to pass in that day
That there will be no light;
The lights will diminish.
The translation is missing a word:
יקרות – pronounced ee-kah-rote
That’s the plural form of the Hebrew word for ‘precious’ or ‘expensive’ or ‘valuable’. And, that word either modifies ‘light’, or it modifies ‘diminish’. Unfortunately, the grammar is all wrong, because it’s written in a poetic form. And, translating poetry is… well …really, Really hard.
From looking at the Hebrew, it sounds like the VALUE of the sun, moon and stars diminish. It’s not valuable anymore, because something else is providing light. And, the next verse gives us a hint as to WHY the value of these light have diminished:
7 It shall be one day
Which is known to the Lord—
Neither day nor night.
But at evening time it shall happen
That it will be light.
Something will provide enough light so that we won’t need either the sun, the moon or the stars. However, Revelation gives us another view of this event:
14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.
The word for ‘receded’ is ἀπεχωρίσθη, which can also mean ‘split apart’. So, maybe there’s a big gash made in the sky, and the sky starts to roll away like a scroll. What will be revealed will be… light. I don’t know if the stars or the sun will still be there, but it doesn’t look like we’ll need them.
Oh, and all this happens when the sixth seal is removed.
We still have one more seal after this, and then comes the seven trumpets and seven bowls/vials.
The next four verses of Zechariah 14 describe the Millennium, so I won’t quote them. But, after verses eight through eleven, this chapter flips back to the Battle of Armageddon:
12 And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem:
Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet,
Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets,
And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths.
13 It shall come to pass in that day
That a great panic from the Lord will be among them.
Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor,
And raise his hand against his neighbor’s hand;
14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem.
And the wealth of all the surrounding nations
Shall be gathered together:
Gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance.
15 Such also shall be the plague
On the horse and the mule,
On the camel and the donkey,
And on all the cattle that will be in those camps.
So shall this plague be.
Revelation 19 describes the same battle of Armageddon, except that Zechariah adds more. The soldiers of the Antichrist who survive the fighting will melt away, where they stand. It will be supernatural, but it will be just one more supernatural event on top of a gigantic number of events.
What is of interest is verse 14.
Judah will fight at Jerusalem?
It looks like those who live in and around Jerusalem will act in self-defense. Remember that God split the Mount of Olives, so that people could flee towards the Jordan River. Well, it looks like those that were left behind will try to defend themselves from that part of the Antichrist’s army that reaches Jerusalem.
Like the Jewish partisans of World War II, that fought Hitler, those who survived the Antichrist’s Holocaust will fight back. In fact, they will probably have been engaging in guerilla warfare, since the beginning of the Antichrist’s reign of terror. Hit and run raids. Ambushing convoys. Blowing up ammo dumps. They might have been doing it all along, but now they get to play a bigger role.
It’s logical that someone would engage in this kind of warfare. It’s just that I’d never really thought about that happening.
The Millennium Begins
The rest of Zechariah 14 is about the Millennium. It talks about those who survive going up every year for the Feast of Tabernacles. No other feast. Just the Feast of Tabernacles. And no, we have no idea why.
Some want to claim that this is proof that God will have reinstituted the Torah, but there’s no way that this is the case. It’s just the Feast of Tabernacles. None of the other feasts are observed. Those who claim that this represents a return to ‘The Law’, will need to provide more proof than just this.
The other important observation is that there are survivors. And, Revelation 14 tells us why this is an intriguing fact:
9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Basically, everyone dies who receives the ‘Mark of the Beast’. You cannot drink the wine of the wrath of God and survive. You die. Full stop. So…
From the way that the Mark of the Beast is described, they cannot impose this mark on you, if you don’t want it. It must be voluntary, otherwise they could force Christians to take it. Therefore, I would assume that there would be children too young to receive The Mark.
A newborn baby wouldn’t be able to receive The Mark. And, there would be no ‘buying and selling’ until you were old enough to do so. This means that there would be quite a few survivors, scattered around the globe. Not all children would have survived when their parents were killed, but some would have.
Just remember what this verse in Revelation 13 says:
8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
There are no exceptions to this rule. If you are not in the Book of Life, you will worship the Antichrist. The question is…
WHEN is your name written in the Book of Life?
If your name was written in the Book of Life when you were chosen by God, then THIS is when your name was written in the Book of Life:
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
All that I’m saying is that there also might be those that God had already chosen, but had not yet received Christ as their Lord and Savior. Those will – for whatever reason – reject The Mark and reject the Antichrist. They will also survive to enter into the Millennium.
Now, I’m on shaky ground here, since there is no proof that anyone else will be saved after the Antichrist begins his reign of terror. There might be. There might not be. Nothing is said. Once the Antichrist arrives and takes over, there might only three groups living on earth:
Those too young to take The Mark
The only other possibility is that there are some who have not yet accepted Christ. There are literally no other possible categories. Being too young and being in the Book of Life is the only way that you can escape the Antichrist.
Okay, I think that we’ve dealt with Zechariah 14.
Comparing The Armies
So, let’s try to compare chapters 12, 13 and 14 with the coming of Gog and Magog.
Do they match?
Zechariah 12 and 13 are a direct match with Ezekiel 38 and 39. Those two chapters directly link the salvation of the Children of Jacob with the attack on Israel and Jerusalem. There’s no doubt about that. Israel receives the same kind of spiritual salvation that you and I received, and they receive it in chapters 12 and 13.
But, which battle is this?
Not the Army of the Antichrist.
Well, it’s not the army of the Antichrist, when he captures Jerusalem the first time. The biggest reason is that the attack on Jerusalem fails to succeed. Vehicles are neutralized. The generals of Israel ‘burn up’ those around Jerusalem. And then… the Lord fights for Israel.
If the Lord fights for you, you win. Period.
We could argue the other details in Zechariah 12 and 13, but there’s just no way that those two chapters could be describing the capture of Jerusalem by the Antichrist.
Are Chapters 12 And 13 About Armageddon?
The tougher question is whether chapters 12 and 13 are about Armageddon. We know that chapter 14 is. There can be no doubt about chapter 14. So, maybe we should ask whether all three chapters are directly linked and talking about the same event.
I don’t think so.
Remember that Gog and Magog are just part of the nations of the world. But, in Zechariah 14, God says that ALL of them are brought down against Jerusalem. Not some. All.
Notice also that there is no mention of a mention of a Millennium in chapters 12 and 13. There are none of the utterly fantastic events that occur in chapter 14.
Also, Jerusalem is captured in Zechariah 14. It’s not described as captured in 12 and 13.
In fact, let me repeat a bit of what I said earlier:
In Zechariah 14, Jerusalem becomes the center of the world.
In Zechariah 12, God makes sure that Jerusalem is NOT.
In Zechariah 14, God saves Jerusalem first.
In Zechariah 12, Jerusalem comes second.
In Zechariah 14, Jerusalem is conquered, the women raped and half the city goes into captivity
In Zechariah 12, the inhabitants of Jerusalem successfully defend the city, with even the weakest being so incredibly strong that they will slay all their enemies, just like David did. In fact, the weakest woman could slay the strongest soldiers with just a few smooth stones and a sling.
In Zechariah 14, Jerusalem is rescued by God Himself.
In Zechariah 12, God gives the inhabitants of Jerusalem the supernatural strength and ability to defend themselves.
In Zechariah 14, God PHYSICALLY saves Jerusalem and Israel.
In Zechariah 12 and 13, God SPIRITUALLY saves them. And, there’s no description in chapter 14 of Israel finally returning to God. They will have been following Christ, already. After all, there’s a reason why the people of Jerusalem are going into concentration camps.
There are real, tangible differences between Zechariah 14 and the two chapters that come just before it. Furthermore, it should be completely clear that…
…Ezekiel 12 and 13 cannot be about the army of the Antichrist that captures Jerusalem.
It’s just not possible.
This brings us to the next core chapter that we need to discuss, Isaiah 30.
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