For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.Zechariah 14:2(NASB)
In the first ten chapters of his book, we find Zechariah the prophet exhorting the nation of Israel to repent of their sin and to learn a lesson from the mistakes of their forefathers. Along with the prophet Haggai, Zechariah exhorted the people to get to work on rebuilding the temple of God which had remained in ruins, despite the edict of Cyrus many years earlier and a further decree from Darius who succeeded him.
As his ministry continued, Zechariah prophesied about the first advent of their Messiah, but from chapter 12 to the end his focus is on the Second Coming of our Lord, where he contrasts God's righteous judgments on Israel with their ultimate rescue, restoration, and blessing.
In this section, Zechariah gives many insights into God's judgement on apostate Israel, His punishment of the Gentile nations, and the return of the Lord Jesus to set up His kingdom. He describes how the holy city of Jerusalem would become a 'cup of trembling' and a 'burdensome stone' to all the nations of the world, but that the Lord their God would fight for His people and utterly destroy their enemies.
He also explains that in the end times, two-thirds of the nation of Israel would be killed, but that a remnant would return to the Lord and be saved by faith in Him. This would be the time the Lord would pour out His Spirit of grace upon His chosen nation. Their blinded eyes would be opened to the truth and they would recognise that Jesus... the One Whom they crucified... was indeed their promised Messiah sent from God.
He explains how the faithful remnant will mourn deeply over rejecting their Messiah when they realise their sin, but that in His grace the Lord had made provision for their sin to be forgiven, the nation to be restored, and their land to be cleansed.
It is at the beginning of this final chapter that Zechariah describes the last, great battle over Jerusalem which will occur immediately prior to His awesome return to set up His kingdom, when every eye will see Him. The fury of the Gentile nations will have caused Israel's enemies to come against Jerusalem and His chosen people, "For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle," he writes. "The city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city."
The nations that have raged against Jerusalem for so long and plundered their land over multiple centuries will once more come against the city in a final attempt to exterminate God's chosen people and wipe them off the face of the earth. The invading armies will capture half of the city and greedily divide up the spoils of war. They will also carry out some terrible atrocities - forcing half the citizens into slavery and raping the women.
But the evil they will perpetrate against the God of Israel and His chosen people will receive the full force of God's wrath, for at the height of their evil deeds... as Zechariah prophesied, the Lord Himself will go forth and fight against those nations. Christ's feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which will be split in two, enabling the rest of His people to flee - just as they fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah.
"Then," Zechariah concludes, "the LORD, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!" to set up His Millennial Kingdom, as promised to Abraham through David and his seed.
Time is short and every day is a day when the gospel of grace can be shared with Jew and Gentile alike. May we be increasingly aware of the days in which we live and take every opportunity to tell others that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ before this terrible time of tribulation.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the mercy and grace You have shown to Adam's fallen race and for Your wonderful plan of salvation through faith in the death, burial, and Resurrection of Your dear Son. I lift up the nation of Israel who are still blinded in part to the truth of the glorious gospel of grace, and yet in Your mercy You have not cut off Your people but have promised to draw them back to Yourself, during the Time of Jacob's Trouble. Thank You that evil will be punished and I pray that many would come to repentance, through faith in Christ. Thank You that You have told us the end from the beginning and that the time is coming when the Body of Christ will accompany the Lord Jesus in the clouds of glory, when He comes to set up His eternal kingdom on earth. Thank You in Jesus' name, AMEN.