An Amillennial Interpretation of Zechariah 14 ( 5 of 8 )

by | Mar 9, 2019 | Eschatology

Post #5 “Zechariah 14:6–11: The Lord’s Reign from Jerusalem,” Part 2

Post #1 Post #2 Post #3 Post #4

Continuing our discussion of verses 6–11, we pick up with the prophecy of the holy city being raised above the now leveled land surrounding it. The exaltation of Jerusalem in verse 10 reflects a common prophetic theme. Perhaps the clearest parallel appears in Isaiah 2:2–3:

2 Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. 3 And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

The words of this same prophecy are also found in Micah 4:1–2, where they follow and contrast the Babylonian desolation of an impure Jerusalem (Micah 3:11–12). God removed his presence from the temple because of Jerusalem’s iniquity; but one day, God’s presence will eternally dwell in a purified Jerusalem, and the city will nevermore be put to shame. Zion will tower over all the earth, and all nations will be under its dominion. The kingdom of the heavenly Zion will become a great mountain and fill the whole earth (Dan. 2:35).

The geographical markers here mentioned by Zechariah had symbolic meaning which we might easily miss. Bryan Gregory explains:

Before the exile, Geba and Rimmon denoted the northern and southern boundaries of Judah during the days of Josiah’s reform. In other words, the land will be restored to her preexilic, pre-disaster state, and being ‘leveled out,’ will provide a geological setting for the crown jewel of the new creation, the city of Jerusalem…. The city itself will then be defined by distinct boundaries, stretching from the Gate of Benjamin (on the city’s northern side) to the place of the First Gate (the location of which is now lost but possibly denotes an old gate on the east side of the city), down to the Corner Gate (on the western side), and from the Tower of Hananel (probably near the northwest corner) down to the king’s winepresses in the south. The boundaries are not only a way of tracing the city’s limits but are more importantly an allusion to Jeremiah 31 where the Lord had promised that the city would be rebuilt from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate (Jer. 31:38). Part of the promise to Jeremiah was that the whole city would once again become holy, never again to be uprooted or demolished (Jer. 31:39–40; cf. Zech. 14:20–21). In other words, the boundaries paint a picture of Jerusalem as a city entirely safe from the threat of violence.[1]

In terms the contemporary inhabitants of Jerusalem understood, Zechariah echoed Jeremiah, promising that the holy city would remain intact from one end (or wall) to the other, and that it would be exalted above the whole land.

Verse 11 pointedly states that “people will live in it.” “In the period after the return from the Exile,” says MacKay, “there seems to have been an ongoing problem with population in Jerusalem. Many of those who returned preferred to live in the countryside and had to be forced to come to the capital (Neh. 7:4; 11:1–2). But there will be no problem about getting people to live in the capital when the king has returned to it.”[2] The absence of a curse, as MacKay goes on to explain,

refers to the ‘ban’ which the Lord imposed on the cities of Canaan because of their great wickedness (Josh. 6:17–18; see also Mal. 4:6). The fate of God’s people for their rebellion had been understood in similar terms (Isa. 43:28). But when the Lord returns to the city, ‘no longer will there be any curse’ (Rev. 22:3). His people will have been purified and will be ready to enter into his presence.[3]

Given the factors we’ve discussed in the last post as well as this one, Zechariah’s prophecy fits better within the context of the new Jerusalem which “will dwell in security” in the new creation than it fits with a millennial Jerusalem which continues to experience day and night and the (lightened) effects of the Adamic curse and is eventually surrounded by a Satanic coalition of nations bent on her destruction (Rev. 20:9).

[1] Gregory, Longing for God, 208–209.

[2] MacKay, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, 311.

[3] Ibid.

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