An Amillennial Interpretation of Zechariah 14 ( 4 of 8 )

by | Mar 6, 2019 | Eschatology

Post #4 “Zechariah 14:6–11: The Lord’s Reign from Jerusalem,” Part 1

Post #1 Post #2 Post #3

We now come to verses 6–11, a section which will require two separate posts. Once the Lord arrives to rescue Jerusalem, the Lord remains to forever reign from Jerusalem; and as the apostle John would later note, “there will be no night there” (Rev. 21:25).

In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light. And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one. 10 All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. 11 People will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security.

Several items here require attention, including the light without luminaries, the living waters, the universal worship of Yahweh, the exaltation of Jerusalem above the surrounding land, Jerusalem’s secure population, and the absence of a curse.

            The text and translation of verse 6 are difficult, but when taken along with verse 7, the larger point seems clear.[1] The “luminaries” are probably the heavenly bodies. The failing of these heavenly bodies has both literal and figurative significance throughout the prophets, especially in connection with “the great and awesome day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31; cf. also Isa. 13:9–13; Joel 3:15; Matt. 24:29; Mark 13:24–25; Luke 21:25; Rev. 6:12–13). Bryan Gregory also observes, “The disruption to the normal cycles of day and night is significant. In God’s promise to Noah, he had promised that the normal rhythms of seasons and days would not cease for as long as the earth endures (Gen. 8:22).”[2] Thus Zechariah indicates that, although he speaks in terms of the old city of Jerusalem and land of Judah, this holy city and promised land will be part of the new creation. The earth as his readers know it will have passed away.[3]

MacKay helps to illumine the significance of the “living waters”:

Jerusalem was always poorly provided with water, but the renewed city is the source of a divinely provided supply. Zechariah here resumes the picture presented by Joel and Ezekiel of the Temple as a source of water (Joel 3:18; Ezek. 47:1–12). This is not just typical of physical change, but of the spiritual blessings that water represents. It is ‘living’ water flowing freshly from a spring or fountain, and symbolic of true spiritual life given in salvation (Jer. 2:13; John 4:10; 7:38). This looks back to the river of Paradise, when ‘a river watering the garden flowed from Eden’ (Gen. 2:10), and it looks forward to Paradise restored…. Truly ‘there is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells’ (Ps. 46:4).

Unlike Ezekiel’s river which flowed only to the east (Ezek. 47:1, an embarrassment for those who take both prophecies to refer to the same literal future event), the water splits half to the eastern sea, that is the Dead Sea, and half to the western sea, that is, the Mediterranean. In this way it is available for all the land. And it is available all the time, in summer and in winter. Many streams in Palestine were only winter torrents which dried up in the heat of summer, when the need for water was at its greatest. Not so this source of supply. It is available all the year round. There is no disruption of the bliss of the new creation ‘for the old order of things has passed away’ (Rev. 21:4).[4]

Verse 9 expresses the consummated, universal submission and worship given to the one true God in the age to come. “And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.” Night forever gone. The river of living water. All the earth serving and worshipping the Lord. If these things do not point us to John’s vision of the eternal state in Revelation 21 and 22, I doubt much will.

[1] Boda, Zechariah, 760–61, fn.b., 762.

[2] Bryan R. Gregory, Longing for God in an Age of Discouragement: the Gospel According to Zechariah, The Gospel According to the Old Testament, ed. Iain M. Duguid (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2010), 207.

[3] Boda also suggests an allusion in the Hebrew text to Genesis 1:3–5, implying a recreation. “This suggests that 14:7 refers to a day of recreation, with 14:6 returning the earth to a state prior to the creative activity in Genesis 1, and 14:7 initiating the process of creation in Genesis 1. This recreation day, just as the original creation day, is known only to Yahweh, in whose hands are the times and seasons (see Ecclesiastes 3). However, the fact that the light appears now in the evening suggests a clear shift in the cosmos, so that there is perpetual light and no night. This is a feature of texts envisioning a future idyllic age (cf. Isa. 60:19, 20; Rev. 21:25; 22:5).” See Boda, Zechariah, 762–63.

[4] MacKay, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, 308–309.

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