Disturbing peals of thunder roll throughout the last of Zechariah's book. Repeatedly, we hear the ominous phrase, "In that day...." All history is moving toward a great day of climax, he is saying.
Amid today's confusion, it may seem as if things are not on any schedule. However, the Bible teaches that God will dramatically show His hand "in that day." Two strands of truth run throughout the prophecy of Zechariah: judgment and salvation. Each of these divides in two. There will be judgment of rebellious Israel and also of the hostile nations. Salvation will be granted to a repentant "double remnant" -- Jews and Gentiles.
Glorious will be the end when "The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name." Zechariah 14:9. This is our text. There is the Messiah Jesus radiating glory from His place as King over all. No, God is not being stripped of His people and His honor, God is extending it -- despite man's rebellion. (This is the very cause of Paul's doxology in Romans 11:33 and following.)
Therefore, Jesus Christ is establishing His kingdom over all the earth. Let us now study the steps to the throne over which He moves, according to Zechariah.
I. HIS DEATH
Definitely, God's word teaches the Father leading His Son by way of the cross to the throne. See verse 13:7. Here God is calling for the sword to rise up and smite His shepherd. Notice this Good Shepherd (in contrast to the deceitful prophets mentioned earlier in the chapter) is called by God "my fellow," or equal. It is also mentioned that the sheep will be scattered as result of this stroke against the shepherd.
Jesus was careful to point out the fulfillment of all this. In John 10, He claims to be this long-awaited Good Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep, and He adds, "I and the Father are one," verse 30 of John 10. On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus quotes Zechariah 13:7, knowing how His weak followers will be scattered from Him. Then He adds, "But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee,” Matthew 26:31-32. So also our text in Zechariah adds a word of promise. God will return to His weak ones in mercy.
II. HIS DELIVERANCE OF THE REMNANT
The Old Testament repeatedly uses the figure of God scattering the Hebrew nation and their captivity to indicate divine judgment of their sins. Indeed, the OT ends with this curse, the theocracy being crushed.
Always woven into this dark fabric are God' brighter words of promise: "I will gather you again" or, "a remnant will be saved." Then, the New Testament opens the kingdom door to the world's other nations.
Study 13:8. Kenneth Taylor sees in this warning the foreshadowing of Rome's destruction of two million Jews and Hitler's massive slaughter of six million.
But God promises, "I will bring a third part through the fire." What joy, even amazement, rises in the heart as verse 9 is pondered! "I will say, They are my people, and they will say, The Lord is our God.” Deep is the knowledge of Christ when we enter the "fellowship of his sufferings," Philippians 3:10.
III HIS RETURN IN GLORY
Next, Chapter 14 of Zechariah opens with a terrifying picture of judgment, cast in war terms. Invading hordes overrun and pillage Jerusalem, verse 1 and 2.
Suddenly, God appears on behalf of His people, verses 3 and 4. He descends in wondrous power upon the mount of Olives, which splits in half, allowing the oppressed citizens of Jerusalem to escape through this new valley, verse 5. Students of prophecy have long felt that this pictures the return of Christ. Olivet is a fitting site for this, too. Up its modest slopes walked the weeping King David, shoes in hand, when driven into exile by Absalom. Here Jesus wept over Jerusalem and a few days later wept in Gethsemane. Thus, the One who humbly offered himself as king, 9:9 and was rejected, will one day stand as conqueror and Lord of all. All His "holy ones" will be with Him, verse 5.
IV. HIS KINGDOM ERA
Finally, the last step to our Lord's visible enthronement will have been taken. Even the shine of the heavenly luminaries will be interrupted as they blink in wonderment at His glory, verses 6 and 7.
The new LIFE flowing to and from God's people is here depicted as a refreshing stream flowing out of the Holy Land's capital city through the former desert land toward the Dead sea and also spreading its year-round nourishment toward the Mediterranean.
Verses 16-19 turns up a theme of modern interest. A true ecumenicity in religion shall be reached in God's kingdom, and the Lord Himself shall enforce it!
The chapter closes with the surprising picture of the secular and sacred in perfect blend. No more confusion and no more hypocrisy. Even the boiling pots of the city will be sacred. All will be sincerely sublimated into divine worship. (Even today, the Spirit would move us in this direction -- that of doing whatever we do for the glory of God. There ought to be more worship, even in work!)
Let all see clearly that here is no universal salvation. Many will be lost, verse 12.
Swift and terrible will be their destruction. Sin is rebellion against God. Here the
rebellious are pictured as dead on their feet. Their eyeless sockets gaping in horror at the hell ahead of them. What a contrast with 13:9!
Lord, I want to be ready for that day when You will be seen as "king over all the earth," verse 9. Reader, take advantage of this day of mercy and commit your life to Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.