Biblical Eschatology

A Biblical study of eschatology and the pre-tribulational & post-tribulational rapture views of the end times.

Understanding Zechariah 14

We must understand the Old Testament based on what the New Testament states. So many Jews misunderstood the OT because they didn't have the answer key. We have the answer key in the NT.

All holy days were a figure of what was fulfilled in Jesus. We no longer observe holy days, as Paul points out in Colossians 2:16-17, "So don't let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. 17These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." (NLT) (See also Colossians 2:14-17; Galatians 4:9-11; Romans 14:5-6).

Next, we must understand Zechariah 14 as a whole. It can be confusing to understand the flow of the chapter. Some translations have something like "the day of the Lord is coming" in Zechariah 14:1. These are mistranslations. The phrase "the day of the Lord" is what is called an appositional phrase. In Greek and Hebrew apposition can only occur if the nouns in the phrase are adjacent. In both the Greek LXX and Hebrew the phrase words are not adjacent. This is why translations such as the ESV translate it "Behold, a day is coming for the LORD."

Additionally, in the Greek in 14:1 it has ἡμέραι which is the plural form of day. Therefore, a better translation would be "Behold, days are coming for the LORD." And that is what is described in chapter 14, multiple days that relate to the Lord, both his first and second coming.

I believe Zechariah 14:2 has a duel fulfillment. First is the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The second is the fight of the Gentiles against God's people (i.e., New Jerusalem which is figurative for the place where the saints dwell).

Zechariah 14:3-5, 7 describes the Day of the Lord. However, chapter 14 is clearly not in chronological order. Verse 6 actually describes what happens before the Day of the Lord. Note that in verse 7 it says it is "one day."

Zechariah 14:8 has a duel fulfillment. Revelation 22:1 and also at Jesus' first coming John 7:37-39.

Zechariah 14:9 describes the setting up of the kingdom, in that the currently existing kingdom in New Jerusalem is overlaid on our current earth.

Zechariah 14:10-11 is parallel to Revelation 21:1-14. Verse 11 in the NASB says, "There will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security" (i.e., no more fighting, no more death). If there is no more curse, how could there be a plague of no rain? The curse refers to the land.

Zechariah 14:12-15 goes back to the Day of the Lord and the plague those unbelievers receive on the Day of the Lord. That plague is death. "12bTheir flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth." (NASB)

Note, Zechariah 14:12 says, "Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem." (NASB) So on the day of the Lord all that came against Jerusalem are killed. Therefore, that would leave zero people that came against Jerusalem in the kingdom.

When we get to Zechariah 14:16, it has to be speaking of days before the day of the Lord. Before getting to 14:6 it is essential to understand what the Feast of Booths was.

The Feast of Booths symbolized the Jews dwelling in Booths in the wilderness before reaching the promised land. It was also called the "Feast of Tabernacles," "Festival of Ingathering," or a "Harvest Festival." These feasts also commemorate Israel's reliance on God to both sustain them and get them to the promised land.

The New Testament fulfillment is in Christ and through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is the harvest festival of souls. This is why Jesus made analogies like, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few." (NASB Luke 10:2) Jesus was not talking about farming. He was referring to harvesting souls, which signifies this harvest festival.

The body of each elect believer is a booth in which the Holy Spirit dwells. This is a temporary dwelling place until the spiritual Promise Land is reached. "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?" (ESV 1 Corinthians 3:16) This feast would have zero significance to commemorate once someone is actually in the spiritual Promised Land, New Jerusalem.

The "rain" is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. If you don't go and worship God in New Jerusalem, then you don't receive the Holy Spirit. New Jerusalem here represents salvation under the new covenant.

Isaiah 44:3 NASB
For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants;
Hosea 6:2-3 ESV
2After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. 3Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.
Also see Isaiah 44:3-5; Psalm 68:9, 72:5-9; Acts 3:19-20

Rain is also figurative for receiving righteousness.
Hosea 10:12 ESV
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

This is what happens when a Jew or anyone for that matter, receive salvation. They receive the Holy Spirit and God's righteousness is accounted to them (i.e., when they get saved they receive the rain).

Jesus also fully illustrates the meaning of Zechariah 14:6.
John 7:2, 37-39 NASB
2Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. 37Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" 39But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Jesus is offering the "rain" and is referencing Zechariah 14:8.

Again Jesus illustrates this with the Women at the well.
John 4:11, 14 NASB
10Jesus answered and said to her,"If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." 14but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."

Jesus is referring back to Zechariah 14. The woman picks up on this and in verses 20-24 she asks where God should be worshiped. Sound familiar?

John 4:20-24 NASB
20"Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." 21Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22"You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23"But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

In John 4:20-24 Jesus explicitly denies that anyone will be required to worship God in Jerusalem on this earth in the future. Instead under the new covenant you either get saved or don't worship God which is the sin of unbelief, and you receive the plague which is Judgment. This is outlined in Jude 1:5 as I will further point out below.

In Zechariah 14:16 "survives" is not a good translation for the Hebrew word yathar. A better translation would be "remaining." Nations in this verse is the Hebrew word goy which refers to gentile people.

It is important to point out that 14:18 "no rain" is not the plague. The plague is described in 14:12-15. You receive that plague if you don't have the rain. Verses 14:16-19 are figurative in relation to Jesus' fulfillment of the Feast of Booths.

Zechariah 14:18 says, "it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths." (NASB) As shown, this plague is for those who are unbelievers who don't receive the "rain" (i.e., the Holy Spirit and righteousness). This same plague analogy is made in Jude 1:5 "Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe." (NASB) We are saved out of this earth and all unbelievers are destroyed.

Zechariah 14:20-21 is said to refer to the millennial kingdom, however it says there is no "Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts in that day." (NASB) Canaanites are associated with Gentiles. So how can Gentiles go to worship if there are none? This is actually talking about the present day. The house of the Lord is the temple which is made up of true Christians, the Israel of God. All are holly. We no longer make animal sacrifices. This is covered by 1 Peter 2:5 "you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (NASB)

Also that Jesus fulfills the Feast of Booths in His first coming is also seen by other verses in the New Testament that litterally mean that Jesus tabernacled with us.

John 1:14 NASB
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt ἐσκήνωσεν [Litterally tabernacled] among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We Are Not Appointed to Wrath

The Timing of the Rapture

The Testimony and Parables of Jesus

Does apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 refer to the rapture?

The Church Not Found In Revelation

The Resurrection

1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, New Doctrine or Just a Clarification?

Who Escapes What in Revelation 3:10?

Imminence Refuted

John 14 - In My Fathers House

Harpazo the Greek Word for Rapture

Behold! I tell you what mystery means

The Dead in Christ & Tribulation Saints

Andy Woods

Revelation is NOT Chronological

Is the Holy Spirit the Restrainer?

What I believe - Day of the Lord Timeline

Understanding Zechariah 14

Blasted Hope or Blessed Hope?

Understanding Greek Pronouns and Their Importance

The Comfort Given by Paul

The Rapture in Revelation 7, Part 1

The Rapture in Revelation 7, Part 2

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