Today: [Zecheriah 14] Will Jesus Literally Return to the Mount of Olives? In the ending chapter of Zecheriah we see parallels with the book of Revelation wherein the final adjudication of the rule of man is brought to its conclusion in a climactic battle at the end time city of Jerusalem. Is this just allegory? Have these things already come to pass? Such are the questions posed and answered in our chapter today.
[Zec 14:1-21 KJV] 1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which [is] before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, [and there shall be] a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5 And ye shall flee [to] the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, [and] all the saints with thee. 6 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the light shall not be clear, [nor] dark: 7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, [that] at evening time it shall be light. 8 And it shall be in that day, [that] living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. 9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. 10 All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and [from] the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses. 11 And [men] shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. 12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
The final chapter of Zecheriah speaks of a coming day when the nations shall gather against the reconstituted nation of Israel with the anti-Christ at their head. When you read passages like this it is hard to accept them in the preterist persective, which believes all of these prophecies are either strictly allegorical, or have already literally come to pass. Chapter 13 sets the stage for the events of this passage as being at a time when Jesus will be visible as the literal ruler of Jerusalem and indeed the entire world for a time, when apparently after a certain period the anti-Christ forces will rise up against Him and against the city of Jerusalem. Premillennial views set these events at the end of a 1000 year reign of Christ literally over all the earth, when man will be given latitude to express his final disobedience against God and His kingdom.
The question of varying doctrines usually focus their unique viewpoint around the disposition of the church / believer in the midst of apocalyptic events and the disposition of the Jew / Nation of Israel during events prophesied. Again, the preterist viewpoint contends that all prophecy given in the Old and New Testaments have already come to pass, and the degree of fulfillment is written off to poetic license whereby the writers exaggerated the events described to emphasize their importance, not necessary (as alleged) to describe actual events taking place. Many believers simply dismiss these discussions altogether with a homespun effete wisdom, as though to be truly spiritual is to dismiss these things altogether as not worthy of discussion. Let us however remember the words Peter who makes apocalyptic expectation an intrinsic component of Christian fidelity:
[2Pe 3:11-12 NKJV] 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
To adopt a c’est la vie attitude toward the coming of the Lord is a jaded viewpoint arising from unbelief, that is in itself a sign of the urgency of the times as we read again, in Peter:
[2Pe 3:3-4 KJV] 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.
It is quite unfortunate that today the mockery, skepticism and trite attitudes toward the apocalypse originate more in the pulpit than in anywhere else. We must as believers arm ourselves with a perspective that looks beyond the immediate, and our own personal concerns as Paul declared:
[1Co 15:19 KJV] 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
As though to dispel all doubt as to Jesus’ literal return, verse 4 describes in unambiguous terms that Jesus will go forth and fight personally against the enemies of Jerusalem, after his feet touch the mount of Olives in a very specific space that could be found today in a GPS coordinate. His advance in defense of Jerusalem at this time will be preceded by an earthquake in much the same way a naval bombardment is deployed to soften up the defensive positions of an enemy. Then in v. 5 we see that not only does the Lord Himself come but He is accompany not just by some but by ALL the saints that have gone on before as His accompanying army, which God willing, includes you and I.
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. 14 And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. 15 And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague. 16 And it shall come to pass, [that] every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17 And it shall be, [that] whoso will not come up of [all] the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. 18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that [have] no [rain]; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD’S house shall be like the bowls before the altar. 21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.
In verse 13 we see the anti-Christ forces will not only be resisted from without, but will be turned against one another in the confusion of the battle. The end of the matter emerges in verses 14-15 when the people of God go out and gather the spoil of the nations as the trophies of war won by Christ and the saints in their behalf. The final verses then describe the administration of the kingdom from the capital in Jerusalem, through an enforced peace, whereby the nations that refuse to bow the knee to Christ’s reign upon them will be no rain until they come yearly to make obedience to the Lord of the Universe, in a city of Jerusalem sanctified throughout as holy unto the Lord forever and forever.
These teachings and others like it are very much held in derision even in evangelical circles today, many of whom do not strictly believe in the literal return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because these beliefs are so wide spread among a people who do not read their bibles let us be reminded of the words of the angel at the ascension of Christ:
[Act 1:11 KJV] 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
The Jesus that ascended in bodily form will be that very singular Jesus returning to set His feet on the mount of Olives and who will go forth with the saints to quell the rebellion of nations, and establish a literal, physical rule on the earth for a period of time. The exactitude and specifics we may struggle to divine from the prophets and the scriptures but the clear generalities of Jesus literal return are not rejected without doing great violence to the word of God and to the apostolic faith of the first century church.
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