Zechariah 14: 1-11 Commentary
I am finally returning to finish what I had started so many months ago, to comment on the book of Zechariah. With all the events happening in the world today between viruses and rioting in the streets of America, God has kept me fairly quiet, at least on the social front.
This week is verses 1-11. Next week (hopefully) I will finish the rest of the chapter and thus finish the book of Zechariah.
Zechariah 14:1 – Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst.
The ESV says this is a day for the Lord. Other translations say that “the day of the Lord is coming.” This is a time when God will show wrath toward heathen. This is meant to be the establishment of the millennial kingdom on earth.
Jerusalem will be overtaken and split up among its enemies. This will be the trigger for the Day of the Lord. Many think this is the time around 70 AD when Rome came against Jerusalem with a multinational army. But the deliverance that is listed by Zechariah doesn’t happen during the 70 AD event.
Zechariah 14:2 – For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
The brutality that will happen during this time will be beyond compare. The brutalities are typical hostilities that happen when hatred reigns in a person’s heart. After the brutality, half of the people will be taken into captivity and then a remnant will remain.
Zechariah 14:3 – Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.
Like throughout all of Biblical, and even modern, history, the Lord shows up gloriously when it seems all hope is lost. Think of the Israelites during the Exodus, they could not see the waters part until their had wet feet. Or I think of Paul & Silas in prison. Again, when all hope seemed lost, God showed up in a glorious way. I immediately go to the Revelation, chapter 14 verse 14 or Ezekiel 38:21.
Zechariah 14:4 – On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.
It is interesting to note that there is a fault line that runs across the Mount of Olives, fairly close to the temple mount. This earthquake is seen in Revelation 16.
This place holds so much significance in Biblical history. Ezekiel saw the glory of God departing from this mountain. The Garden of Gethsemane is here as well, where Jesus shed tears and was grieved to the point of death. And it was from this place that Jesus ascended into heaven.
Zechariah 14:5 – And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
As we notice in the book of Amos, there is an earthquake described. This mountain is split from east to west and the mountain will move north and south. It will create a valley that will reach to a place east of Jerusalem called Azal. This is a parallel quake to the book of Amos, when king Uzziah reigned in Judah.
Zechariah 14:6 – On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost.
It is interesting to note, as both verse 6 and 7 go together, that this is the Day of the Lord. The sources of light and dark that we know today won’t exist, but….
Zechariah 14:7 – And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light.
…it will be replaced with the Light of Christ alone. I look to Isaiah 30:26 and Malachi 4:2 as Biblical references here.
This day, only the Lord knows.
What Zechariah set up in the beginning of this chapter he describes in detail for the rest of it. Just what is going to happen on that “unique day?”
Zechariah 14:8 – On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter.
Jerusalem’s highest point is almost 300 feet lower than the Mount of Olives. But what will happen on that day is remarkable! The waters will flow to both the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
One other thing to note is that in the summer, most Palestinian creeks, rivers, and waterways dry up. But this tells us that it will continue year-round.
Joel 3:18 tells us that water will flow from under the temple. In Ezekiel 47 we see that trees of all kinds bear fruit year round because of the water that flows from the sanctuary.
Psalm 46:4 tells us about this river of God. It is something that can only be created by His moving, by God’s power alone.
There are MANY verses that allude to this “river of God.” It can be tied back to the original Eden from Genesis 2:10. Then, there are so many others that talk about it in the millennial sense: Isaiah 33:21 and Revelation 22:1 come to mind immediately.
Could this river of God be the essence of God Himself? I know that is a very dangerous statement to make, but if I read my Bible directly, this river proceeds directly out of the throne room of God!
This is the Living Water we so closely associate with.
Zechariah 14:9 – And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.
The false religions are going to be taken away. All the covenants will be fulfilled:
Abrahamic – giving the nation of Israel and a land given to Abraham
Davidic – A king from the tribe of Judah and the line of David
New – Spiritual redemption of both Jew and Gentile
Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all covenants.
Zechariah 14:10 – The whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft on its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses.
The surrounding areas to Jerusalem will be leveled and become a plain and Jerusalem will be lifted above it all.
Many of the prophets said that in the latter days Jehovah’s house would be built on top of the mountains.
Zechariah 14:11 – And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction. Jerusalem shall dwell in security.
Jerusalem has been fought over more than any other city on earth. That will be no more. There will be safety and security in Jerusalem.
Again, many of the prophets spoke of the blessings of a restored Jerusalem.
Zechariah 6 Commentary
Zechariah 6 starts with another vision. This is the eighth and final vision. This vision serves as a connector to the first. The horses that are in the first vision are shown in this vision. This vision shows us the quick judgment that comes upon Babylon.
Zechariah 6:1 – Again I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, four chariots came out from between two mountains. And the mountains were mountains of bronze.
Here comes the war. Chariots symbolize war. In the previous vision, the sins went out of Israel (physical and spiritual) and were taken to Babylon. Now that the sin is in the world, God is declaring war on the sin.
The mountains could have a dual meaning. It could be the physical placement of the mountains as many think they are Mount of Olives and Mount Zion. But the Lord calling these mountains of “bronze” or, in some translations, “brass,” means that they hold symbolic meaning as well. Typically we see the color bronze used with strength.
Putting the strength of the mountains together with the chariots and we see both strength and judgment.
The reasoning behind the physical mountains is because it is the actual Kidron Valley. That is the place that Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe will be the place of final judgment.
Zechariah 6:2 – The first chariot had red horses, the second black horses,
The horses, as we will see, match up to the horses seen in Zechariah 1 with one exception. There is the addition of a black horse.
In Zechariah 1 we see that the horses are on reconnaissance. In this, we see that the horses are hooked up to chariots. This means that we are seeing these horses coming in war, not reconnaissance.
These horses are pretty much the same as the horses as in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 6:4 – And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.
Then again in Revelation 6:5 – When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand.
The black horse talks about troubled times and famine.
Zechariah 6:3 – the third white horses, and the fourth chariot dappled horses—all of them strong.
White horses are typically peaceful. The dappled horses are typically mixed times of peace and adversity.
At the end of the day, it is God whose plans are made a reality. Man can plan how this world will move forward, but God’s plan is true. It is timeless. And the strength of these horses show that man cannot have an impact on the mission of these horses.
Zechariah 6:4 – Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?”
Again, as we have seen throughout the book, Zechariah is confused and asking for wisdom. This is the wisdom that can only come from God alone.
Zechariah 6:5 – And the angel answered and said to me, “These are going out to the four winds of heaven, after presenting themselves before the Lord of all the earth.
The symbolism here is the four corners of the world. Similar to the four kingdoms in the book of Daniel, these horses go out to the entire world.
These angels are to present themselves before the “Lord of all the earth.” This is the millennial title of Christ.
Zechariah 6:6 – The chariot with the black horses goes toward the north country, the white ones go after them, and the dappled ones go toward the south country.”
Now this is going to get a little deep. If we look directly at the historical significance of these horses in the physical realm, we can match up the horses to different times in history. The red horse, which isn’t mentioned here, has already occurred. The red horse was the time of the Chaldeans. That empire was already gone, so there is no mention of that horse here.
The black horse was Cyrus. He destroyed the Chaldeans and his kingdom is called “the north” in much of Scripture.
The white horse comes after Cyrus, which is Alexander. He was a fairly peaceful ruler. Which makes sense he would get the white horse.
The dappled horses could be the Egyptian rulers which were had some that were peaceful and others that were cruel.
Israel’s enemies came from the north and south. Babylon and Egypt. God is calling the judgment upon those areas.
Zechariah 6:7 – When the strong horses came out, they were impatient to go and patrol the earth. And he said, “Go, patrol the earth.” So they patrolled the earth.
Who are the strong horses? Rome? Could be. It could also be any of the other kingdoms that strived to go well beyond their boundaries such as the Huns or the Goths or the Vandals.
These horses are told to go an walk to and fro through the earth. This means they have subdued the earth so that they can comfortably go through the world.
Zechariah 6:8 – Then he cried to me, “Behold, those who go toward the north country have set my Spirit at rest in the north country.”
This is most likely a millennial statement. God’s spirit of wrath won’t rest until the Messiah is on the throne. This is looking forward to Revelation 17 – 20.
Zechariah 6:9 – And the word of the Lord came to me:
In Scripture, one of the ways that prophets typically close out their visions is by giving focus to God. Zechariah is no different. He said that the Word of the Lord came to him. This is the moment that the topic moves from the vision itself to the word that God is giving Zechariah about the visions.
Zechariah 6:10 – “Take from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon, and go the same day to the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah.
There are a ton of names here. Each of those names have meanings, as did most names from that day. Heldai is one of the exiles who returned from captivity and his name is based off the word cheled which means worldliness. Tobijah is another man from exile and his name means God is my good. Jedaiah is another formerly exiled man and his name means God has known.
Those three former exiles are to go immediately to Josiah. We don’t really know who this person is other than it is at his house they are crowning Joshua.
An interesting thing is that the name Josiah means God saves. While I am not sure it really works like this, these people were exiled in Babylon, in the world (Heldai). But God’s goodness knows what the exiles needed (Tobijah and Jedaiah)….saving from God (Josiah).
Zechariah 6:11 – Take from them silver and gold, and make a crown, and set it on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest.
It is interesting to note here that when Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BC, he allowed the Jews to go back to their homeland. When they arrived, they had joint leadership under Zerubbabel and Joshua. Throughout the history of Israel, God has commanded that the civil and the ceremonial leadership should be separate. Zerubbabel maintained the civil law while Joshua maintained the ceremonial.
The question here is why would they be putting a crown on the head of the high priest? This is not a normal thing. The only time we saw the two offices intermingle was in 2 Chronicles with Uzziah and it brought his death to him.
An interesting note is that Joshua is basically the same name as Jesus. This is most definitely a call out to the Messiah Jesus Christ. When Christ comes He will rule completely. This is a foreshadowing of the one to come from the Davidic line, Jesus the Christ.
Zechariah 6:12 – And say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.
In the next 4 verses, we learn a lot about Jesus Christ. First, we learn the Jesus will come from Israel and that He will build a temple.
While the crown was placed on the head of Joshua, they are calling out the Branch (capitalized), meaning Jesus the Christ.
Mark 14:58 – “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’”
John 2:21 – But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Zechariah 6:13 – It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”’
I am very confused by the various translations of this verse and, although I do most of my work from the ESV, I am not impressed with the translation of this verse in the ESV. Many other versions have the following:
Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”
When you read other translations, it is very easily seen as a singular person who is taking the role of both ruler and priest. When you read the ESV, it seems as though there are two separate people in this role.
As I believe this is a millennial verse that would go along with the others, I have to believe that this, too, is a millennial verse. If it is, then we learn several things about Christ here. First, we see the Lord’s glory. Next we see that He will be both king and priest. And finally in this verse we see that there will be peace.
Zechariah 6:14 – And the crown shall be in the temple of the Lord as a reminder to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah.
This crown that was given to Joshua is meant to be kept in the temple as a memorial to those who returned from exile.
This is a verse to speak to the faithful in Christ receiving the crown of glory.
The name “Hen” means gracious and is evidently another name for Josiah, who is being gracious himself.
Zechariah 6:15 – “And those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the Lord. And you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And this shall come to pass, if you will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.”
The next thing we learn about Christ is that God is opening His kingdom to the Gentiles, that we will know that this is from the Lord, and that it requires our obedience.
1 Peter 2:5 – you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:13-22 – But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
I really appreciate you sharing this!