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Go to Bible: Zechariah 14
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“For I.” The prophecy switches to a first-person narrative. Zechariah 14:3 switches back to the prophet speaking.
“I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle.” Jesus knew this was coming and warned his disciples to flee if they ever saw armies coming to surround Jerusalem: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that her desolation has drawn near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of her must leave, and do not let those who are in the country enter her” (Luke 21:20-21). This confederation of nations coming to fight against Jerusalem will occur during the Tribulation foretold in the Old Testament and by Jesus (see commentary on Dan. 12:1).
“and the women raped.” Warfare is usually very brutal. The same thing was foretold by Isaiah about Babylon being conquered by the Medes and Persians (Isa. 13:16).(top)
“Yahweh will go out and fight.” Yahweh will fight through the work of His Messiah, Jesus Christ, just as he heals through Jesus Christ (cp. Isa. 63:1-6).(top)
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“It will be a unique day that is known to Yahweh.” The word “day” in this verse could refer to “time,” so from the text alone we do not know if this “day” will be a regular day of 24 hours, or if it will be a somewhat longer time.
Although the text says that this day is known only to Yahweh, and there are aspects of it that are indeed known only to Yahweh, there is still a lot that we can know about it. From the context of Zechariah, we know that it is associated with the end of this “present evil age” (Gal. 1:4) and the beginning of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom on earth. The “day of Yahweh” that is coming (Zech. 14:1) is the time of the Great Tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon, and during that time Jerusalem will be attacked by many nations. Also, the time when Yahweh will go out and fight the evil nations (Zech. 14:3) will be the Battle of Armageddon, when Jesus Christ, Yahweh’s representative, will fight and conquer the earth (Isa. 11:4; 63:1-6; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:11-21).
Furthermore, the Mount of Olives will split around this time (Zech. 14:4), and that split will allow the water from the Temple to flow to the Dead Sea (Ezek. 47:1-12; Zech. 14:8).
At some point during the latter part of the Battle of Armageddon, or in the immediate aftermath of it, God’s unique day will begin. Before that “unique day” the earth is in the “present evil age” that we all live in today, but after that day, the earth will be restored to a state very similar to the Garden of Eden (“Eden” in Hebrew is “Paradise” in the Septuagint, and the Bible says that when Christ reigns as king on earth the earth will be “Paradise” again. See commentary on Luke 23:43).
God needed the “unique day” because there is a huge amount of things to change in a very short period of time, and much of it is so complex that it would take volumes for God to explain it to us. For example, animal nature will have to change. In this present evil age many animals are dangerous, but in the Millennial Kingdom the animals will be harmless, like they were in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 1:30; Isa. 11:6-9). Today the soil, water, and air are so polluted or affected by sin that people are starving, or else eating food and drinking water that is often dangerous, but in the Millennial Kingdom the soil, water, earth and air will be healed and the earth will produce abundant food (Isa. 25:6; 30:23-26; 32:15; 35:1-7; 41:18-20; 44:3; 51:3; Jer. 31:5,11-14; Ezek. 47:1-12; Hos. 2:21,22; Joel 2:18-26; Amos 9:13). Today sickness and disease can make life very difficult and dangerous, but in Christ’s Millennial Kingdom people will be healthy (Isa. 33:24). Today the world is full of dangerous people, but when Christ comes to earth he will kill the wicked (Isa. 11:4) and will rule over the earth such that there will be peace and safety for everyone, and no war (Isa. 2:4; 9:4-7; 60:18; Hos. 2:18; Mic. 4:3, 4; Zech. 9:9, 10).
Those are just some of the things that will change in that one “unique day,” and there are more. The Bible does not explain how all this will happen, which is why this unique day is known only to Yahweh. We don’t know how the animals will become harmless or how the earth, water, and air will become unpolluted and healthy, but the Scripture says it will happen. Living forever on a wonderful earth, in a wonderful healthy body, with wonderful people will make everlasting life a truly amazing and joyful experience. After all, who doesn’t like good food, good friends, and cute fuzzy animals? But that wonderful life is part of the great Hope that people who take Christ as Lord and get saved (Rom. 10:9) can look forward to.
[For more on the “Day of Yahweh,” see commentary on Dan. 12:1. For more on the wonderful Millennial Kingdom on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth”].
“half of them toward the eastern sea.” The eastern sea is the Dead Sea, and this eastern flowing river is described in Ezekiel 47:1-9.
“the western sea.” The western sea is the Mediterranean Sea.
“in summer and in winter.” This statement was very comforting to the people in Israel in biblical times because most of the rivers (actually “streams”) in Israel were not perennial, but dried up in the summer months. The rain in Israel usually fell from late October until mid-to-late April, and then it was without rain from May until October, and most of the streams dried up in those six rainless months. Here in Zechariah God promised that the river from His Temple would flow both east and west all year long.(top)
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