The Book of Zechariah
BEHOLD THE DAY OF THE LORD COMETH
1. Chapter 14 continues and concludes the second oracle of Zechariah, which deals with the second coming of Christ (chap.12-14).
2. Therefore, this chapter is climactic. The only way to properly interpret it is literally, i.e. from the premillennial position.
3. In the past few weeks, I have emphasized that these events will take place in “the day of the LORD” (14:1), not a normal 24-hour day, but an extended period of time covering the events surrounding the second coming of Christ and His establishment of His kingdom.
4. In Semitic thought, it was customary to designate events of importance with the term “day.” For example, our Lord said to the Jews in John 8:56, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”
5. Recently someone told me that he believed the day of the LORD was a literal 24-hour day. But if you look at all of the references to “the day of the LORD,” you will see that these prophecies could not all be fulfilled in one 24-hour day (cf. Rev. 6:17).
6. The day of the LORD is literally the “day of Jehovah.”
I. JEHOVAH IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (14:1-4)
II. JEHOVAH IS GOD (14:5-8, particularly vs. 5b)
III. JEHOVAH SHALL BE KING OVER ALL THE EARTH (14:9-20)
I. JEHOVAH IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (14:1-4)
1. The chapter begins with the battle of Armageddon (cf. 12:2, 3). Israel’s foes shall take “thy spoil” (14:1), i.e., the booty or the loot, and divide it amongst themselves.
2. When studying Bible prophecy, we need to remember that it is not the devil or his demons that gather all the nations against Israel, but God Himself (14:2). Satan and his devils, as well as wicked men will be used as God’s instruments, carrying out His plan.
3. This does not interfere with man’s free will or man’s responsibility (cf. Rev. 16:13-16). If wicked men are led astray by devils, it is only because they have rejected God and opened themselves up to the demonic realm.
4. That is what II Thessalonians 2:11 means, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”
5. Why would God send sinners “strong delusion”? “Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2:10).
6. “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thess. 2:12).
7. I believe “all nations” (Zech. 14:2) should be taken literally. Joel 3:2 says, “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat…”
8. Our Lord said in Luke 21:24, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
9. The Lord will intercede for His beleaguered people (Zech. 14:3; cf. Rev. 19:11-21).
10. We know from Acts 1:11, 12 that our Lord ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives. Here we see that He will also descend to that same spot (14:4). His descent will bring about great topographical changes (cf. 14:8).
11. This passage proves that Jesus Christ is Jehovah. “And his (Jehovah’s – cf. 14:3) feet shall stand…” (14:4).
II. JEHOVAH IS GOD
1. Not only does this exciting prophecy prove that Christ is Jehovah, it also proves that He is God. In reference to the second coming of Christ, Zechariah says: “and the LORD my God shall come and all the saints with thee” (14:5).
2. “The saints” are believers (cf. I Thess. 3:13; 4:14; Jude 14; Rev. 19:11-16).
3. “Ye” (14:5) refers to the saved remnant of Jews, the one third that escaped death in the tribulation (13:8, 9). “The valley” (14:5) refers to the new valley that will be formed when the Lord splits the Mount of Olives in two.
4. This huge earthquake is connected with the seventh bowl judgment, which will seal up the wrath of God, immediately before the second coming of Christ (cf. Rev. 16:17, 18). Rev. 17:1—19:10 is a parenthetical section, and then the narrative begins again at Rev. 19:11.
5. The second coming will bring supernatural celestial disturbances that will make the day unparalleled in human history (14:6, 7; cf. Matt. 24:29, 30).
6. This river (14:8) issues out from under the threshold of the temple that will be erected when Christ returns (cf. Joel 3:18; Ezek. 47:1-12; Rev. 22:1, 2).
III. JEHOVAH SHALL BE KING OVER ALL THE EARTH (14:9-21)
1. When Jesus comes back, He alone will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords (14:9). There will be no more talk about the pope or Mary or Allah or Mohammed or Buddha, et al.
2. There will be no more confusion, no more idolatry, no more false religion, no more demonism (13:2).
3. Zechariah has already indicated the cause of the vast topographical changes mentioned in 14:10 – the cause is the return of our Lord.
4. His return will occasion a mammoth earthquake that will change the entire area “from Geba to Rimmon,” about 40 miles (14:10). These specific geographical details indicate that this prophecy will be literally fulfilled, and that Jerusalem’s city limits will be enlarged.
5. Jerusalem will finally be safe from her enemies (14:11). God will destroy her enemies in two particular ways:
(1) God will send a deadly plague (14:12, 15; cf. Rev. 15:1; 16:1-21). This sounds like nuclear warfare.
(2) God will cause Israel’s enemies to fight among themselves (14:13). “A great tumult” (14:13) indicates severe panic.
6. Jerusalem will be the religious capital of the world at this time. Representatives from the other nations will go there “to worship the King,” i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ (14:16).
7. The Feast of Tabernacles will be observed during the millennial kingdom (14:16). It was one of the brightest and gladdest of all the Jewish festivals. It commemorated the wanderings of the children of Israel in the wilderness, when they dwelt in booths (cf. Lev. 23:34, 35, 41-44).
8. There were other yearly feasts such as Passover and Pentecost, but these have already been typically fulfilled.
9. Those who do not go to Jerusalem to worship our Lord will be punished (14:17). He will rule with a rod of iron (cf. Ps. 2; Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15).
10. Egypt might be singled out because in the Bible, Egypt always represents the world (14:18, 19). Worldliness will not be completely eradicated during the millennial kingdom, but it will not be tolerated.
11. In that day, everything shall be holy unto the Lord (14:20, 21). There will be no more distinctions between “sacred and secular.”
12. Jerusalem will be a beautiful and holy city when our Lord returns and sets up His throne there. Right now it is “filthy and polluted.”
13. Referring to Jerusalem, Zephaniah 3:1 says, “Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!”
14. Referring to Jerusalem, Revelation 11:8 says it “spiritually (it) is called Sodom and Egypt.”
15. “The Canaanite” (14:21) was a proverbial name for a moral degenerate. Most religious people are “Canaanites,” but it will be different when the Lord comes back.
1. As we go about witnessing to the lost, giving out tracts, inviting them to church – we are oftentimes discouraged at their indifference.
2. If they could only understand the book of Zechariah (as well as Revelation, Daniel, etc.).
3. Let us once again read carefully 14:12, and think about those we know and love with their flesh and eyes and tongues “consumed away.”
4. Nuclear scientists have warned that we are only a few minutes left to “midnight.” They have little confidence in the world’s leaders to handle the inevitable crisis that will soon be upon us.
5. “A great tumult” (14:13) could be translated a great “panic.” We get our English word panic from the Greek god Pan, a devilish character with horns, who runs around the forests playing his flute.
6. Webster’s Dictionary defines panic as: “the mental or emotional state believed induced by the god Pan; a sudden unreasonable terror often accompanied by mass flight.”
7. But it is certainly not “unreasonable” to be terrified today (cf. Luke 21:25-28).
Syria ready with bio-terror if U.S. hits
An American biodefense analyst living in Europe says if the U.S. invades Iran to halt its nuclear ambitions, Syria is ready to respond with weapons of mass destruction – specifically biological weapons.
"Syria is positioned to launch a biological attack on Israel or Europe should the U.S. attack Iran," Jill Bellamy-Dekker told WND. "The Syrians are embedding their biological weapons program into their commercial pharmaceuticals business and their veterinary vaccine-research facilities. The intelligence service oversees Syria's 'bio-farm' program and the Ministry of Defense is well interfaced into the effort."
Bellamy-Decker currently directs the Public Health Preparedness program for the European Homeland Security Association under the French High Committee for Civil Defense.
She anticipates a variation of smallpox is the biological agent Syria would utilize.
"The Syrians are also working on orthopox viruses that are related to smallpox," Bellamy-Decker said, "and it's a good way to get around international treaties against offensive biological weapons development. They work on camelpox as a cover for smallpox."
According to the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, camelpox is a virus closely related to smallpox, that causes a "severe and economically important disease in camels," but rarely, if ever, causes the disease in humans.
Bellamy-Decker also told WND the North Koreans were working closely with the Syrians on their biological weapons program.
"The Syrians have made some recent acquisitions in regard to their smallpox program from the DPRK (North Korea)," she explained. "Right before the recent Lebanon war, the Syrians had a crash program in cryptosporidium."
According to the Washington State Department of Health, cryptosporidium is a one-celled parasite that causes a gastrointestinal illness with symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and a low-grade fever. The symptoms can last for weeks and may result in weight loss and dehydration.
"Because cryptosporidium is impervious to chlorine," Bellamy-Decker continued, "you could infect the water supply by the bucket full of cryptosporidium, if you know where to get it. The resulting illness would put down a lot of civilians and military who might oppose you going into their country."
"The Syrians have a modus operandi of covert operations and deniability," she stressed, "so biological weapons are absolutely perfect for them."
WND asked Bellamy-Decker if the Syrians have any history of having used biological weapons.
"I believe they are testing biological weapons right now, in Sudan, in the conflict in Darfur," she answered. "There is credible information about flyover activity in Darfur, where little parachutes have been dropped down on the population. This is consistent with dispersal methods in bioweapons attacks. I've also seen evidence of bodies that have been recovered from Darfur that look as if they had been exposed to biological weapons."
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran met with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum Feb. 28 to exchange expressions of support and solidarity.
"The Syrians now consider biological weapons as part of their arsenal," Bellamy-Decker said. "The Syrian military is also beginning to plan the eventual integration of biological weapons in its tactical and strategic arsenals."
She referenced an April 2000 article published by Syrian defense minister General Mustafa Talas, titled "Biological (Germ) Warfare: A New and Effective Method in Modern Warfare." The article was republished in a Farsi translation in Tehran.
"All indications suggest that Syria's ultimate objective is to mount biological warheads on all varieties of the long-range surface-to-surface missiles in its possession," Bellamy-Decker maintained. "This is a goal that can probably be achieved within a few years, and it may already have been realized in part."
She argued that instead of producing large quantities of bioweapons agents, Syria is seeking to develop a smaller, but high-quality arsenal, which it can deliver accurately against military and civilian targets.
When asked how Syria might be expected to retaliate against Israel or Europe if the U.S. attacked Iran, she responded, "Syria has most likely forward-deployed some of their covert operatives. Smallpox does not need to be weaponized. Aerosol release is the way to go."
Bellamy-Decker explained the methodology of a terrorist bio-attack:
So with a good primary aerosol release in an airport in Israel or Europe and you could get 100 index cases. If you've made the strain sufficiently virulent, you could have a ratio of 1 to 13 for infectivity, where the normal ratio is 1 to 3. If every index case infects 13 other people, you unfortunately have a great first hit.
"A terrorist bio-attack could go global," she noted. "A good biological hit will spread rapidly with international travel. Smallpox is a better weapon than anthrax. Smallpox has been field-tested, it is highly stable, and highly communicable, especially if you look at some of the strains the Russians manipulated. Syria probably retained some of [its] smallpox strains from the last outbreak back in 1972."
Another risk is the possibility Syria's military might give bioweapons to terrorists.
"We are close to seeing a breakthrough where Syria could provide biological weapons to some of the terrorist groups they work with, like Hezbollah in Lebanon," Bellamy-Decker argued. "The Syrians believe they can vaccinate themselves and they are working within the Syrian military. They're certainly not worried about releasing these biological weapons in a military setting, or even if civilians were infected as well, as long as they are vaccinated. I think it is a real threat."
Bellamy-Decker is presenting a paper at this week's Intelligence Summit in St. Petersburg, Fla. It is expected to focus on the sophisticated state of development of the Syrian bioweapons program.
"The Syrians have developed a rather remarkable bioweapons capability that has gone under the radar of U.S. intelligence," she said. "U.S. intelligence continues to insist that the Syrian capability is not highly developed. The Syrian program mirrors how the Russians have developed their program, as well as Iraq under Saddam Hussein, North Korea, and Iran. The emphasis in the Syrian program is on latent potential and outbreak capability."
Bellamy-Decker explained we should not expect to find stockpiles of biological weapons.
"Stockpiles are just not how biological weapons are done," she said. "With biological weapons, it is not the quantity, but the quality that counts. If you can produce a virulent, communicable strain, then you have a great biological weapon and it doesn't matter how much of it you have, it depends on what the weapon looks like."
Bellamy-Decker also referenced a paper she had co-authored for the European Homeland Security Association (EHSA) titled, "Public Health Security and Preparedness."
This paper is intended to be used as part of a new initiative EHSA is launching in Brussels to hold a quarterly bioterrorism forum bringing together national and international experts with high-level decision-makers "to discuss the threat posed by deliberate disease and the appropriate preparedness and response mechanisms vitally needed to address this threat."