A day of the Lord is coming when your plunder will be divided in your presence.Zechariah 14:1(HCSB)
In a nutshell, the final chapters of Zechariah teach that God's anointed King would be rejected at first, but in the end, will return in power and great glory to save Israel from their enemies, to establish His eternal kingdom on earth, and to rule and reign in righteousness and equity. This truth is in God's Word and cannot be changed.
It must have been a great encouragement for the post-exilic Jews, to know that God would, one day, fight for His people against their enemies...for they were living in difficult times - far away from their homeland. For Christians today, Zechariah gives one of the most detailed accounts of the coming 'Tribulation' events - which will happen after the Church has been removed at the Rapture. And after the Church has been taken away - during the time of Jacob's Trouble, Israel will turn to this prophecy once more, and know that after the great battle of Armageddon, the Lord will go forth, and fight against the nations that have ravaged Jerusalem, taken half the city captive, and shaken their fist in the face of God.
2000 years ago, Israel were set aside for a season because they rejected Jesus the Nazarene, Who was attested by God through signs, miracles, and wonders, which God performed through Him. He came to deliver His people from their sin. He came to set up His kingdom as John the Baptist proclaimed. Daniel explains that He came, "to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place." But instead, He was nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men, and put to death.
For this reason, the kingdom was postponed and the nation of Israel was set aside, while God continued to carry out His perfect plan of redemption through the Body of Christ. The Church will continue their ministry of reconciliation, until the day they are taken out of the way, when Israel will once again be used to finish the work God He has prepared for them to do, and finally, they will welcome their Messiah - JESUS, King of kings and Lord of lords.
This final chapter of Zechariah, gives a detailed picture of a future day when the Lord Jesus will rescue His people Israel. "Behold, the 'Day of the Lord' is coming," Zechariah writes, "when your goods will be forcibly taken from you and divided in front of you... for I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem..." Israel must first suffer punishment for their sin, before their night of weeping will turn into a glorious morning of joy.
Because Israel rejected their Messiah at His first advent, the kingdom was postponed, and the Nation is destined to suffer the consequences of crucifying the Lord of Glory. But the Lord is a compassionate God. The Lord is full of mercy and of great goodness, and the main reason for the Great Tribulation is to punish a Christ-hating sinful world and to bring the erring people of Israel back to a knowledge of their Messiah.
Over seventy years ago, God started to prepare the world stage for the final act of His redemptive programme, through the nation of Israel. Many Jews have returned to their homeland, and the Day of the Lord will cause the people of Israel to call out to Him in the Day of Trouble. "Behold, He is coming with the clouds," we read in Revelation, "and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth shall gaze upon Him and beat their breasts. They will mourn and lament over Him." But they will also BELIEVE in Him, and be saved.
Israel has yet to face the terrors of the Day of the Lord and they will reach the point of desperation when their possessions will be divided as plunder among their enemies, Jerusalem will be ransacked, and half of the people will go into slavery. But read to the end of the chapter, and you will find that the unbelieving Nation of Israel will repent of their sin. They will call out for their Messiah and the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth, a second time, to rescue His people once again, and set up His Millennial kingdom.
Christians are not appointed to God's wrath and some wonder why we need to know about the great and terrible Day of the Lord, when we will not have to endure the horrific time to come. Well, there is a world of lost people out there... Jews and Gentiles alike, who will have to face the great and terrible Day of the Lord, if they do not turn from their sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sin - through His sacrificial death.
If the only way to escape that terrible time to come is through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, should we not take every opportunity to tell our loved ones, our friends, our relatives, our neighbours, our work colleagues, and those we meet, the good news of the gospel of grace and the terrible consequences of rejecting God's offer of salvation?
May we be as faithful in our generation in warning to lost of their need of Christ as Zechariah was when he warned apostate Israel, "Behold, a day of the Lord is coming, when all you own will be taken from you, and divided in front of you."
Heavenly Father, as we see the stage being set for the end times events, I know that the Rapture of the Church is drawing ever closer... as is the great and terrible Day of the Lord. Father, I do thank You for my salvation and that I am not appointed to wrath, because Jesus took the punishment for me at the Cross, when Your fury and wrath was poured out on Him, for my sin. Lord, there are many that are not yet saved by grace through faith in Christ, who will be facing the wrath to come and eternal separation from You, if they do not turn to Him for the forgiveness of their sin. Use me in whatever way You will, to tell out the good news of the gospel of grace, before it is too late - this I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.