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Zechariah 14: On That Day - Part 2 Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 May 2010

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There have been many significant days in the history of humanity.  You could break these days into categories: political days (like certain elections or Wilberforceís defeat of slavery in Parliament), natural disasters (like the flood or even the recent earthquake in Haiti), or religious days (Lutherís speech at the Diet of Worms or Edwardís preaching of ĎSinners in the hands of an angry Godí).  Yet, as significant as all of these days are (and others included), the most significant days are what we could call the days of redemptive history.  They include: the day of Adamís sin in the garden, the day God became a man, the day Christ died for our sins and the day He rose again, the day of Pentecost and the giving of the Spirit.  These days are the most significant of history.  And yet a future day of redemptive history still awaits.  The Bible often refers to this day as Ďthe coming Day of the Lord.í  It is this day that Zechariah speaks of in Zechariah 14. 

As we noted last week, Zechariah has been looking at the Ďlast daysí in chapters 12-14.  In chapters 12-13 we looked at events that would happen between the first and second coming of Christ.  Yet, this morning as we move into chapter 14, we shift to the Day of Christís return.  Of course, the Bible has much to say about the return of Christ.  At the same time, believers have many questions about His return: will the Church suffer, will there be a rapture, what is the millennium and when will it take place, on and on we could go.  Yet, if I may, I would like to suggest that none of these questions (nor are so many others that we seem to be obsessed with) are the main point of the biblical passages on the return of Christ. 

If I could sum up all of these passages with one command it would be this: be ready.  I would possibly add to this the command to Godís people to be encouraged.  Yet, I fear that at times we spend so much time on the secondary questions that we largely ignore the primary question from these texts, namely are you ready for the return of Christ?  Of course, the obvious follow-up question is how can we be ready for the return of Christ?  As we consider Zechariah 14 this morning, I want us to keep this question in the back of our minds and return to it as we close.  Before we get there, I want to ask three questions about the Day that Zechariah is speaking of.

First, what will happen on the Day?

The text actually begins in the days immediately preceding the return of Christ.  Things are not going well for Godís people.  The nations have surrounded Jerusalem, but God intervenes and fights for His people.  He comes to their aid.  Look at 14:1-2.  The situation is terrible, but look what happens in verses 3-5.  The Lord will fight against the nations, the enemies of His people.  He will come to the Mount of Olives (a mountain right outside the city of Jerusalem) and will divide it and deliver His people just as He did at the Red Sea.  Zechariah notes: Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.  The Lord will come.  Christ will return just as He promised to do.  This will be the final glorious day.

Zechariah then goes on to describe some of the physical changes that will take place on that day in verses 6-11.  Look at those with me.  There will be no more night time and no more seasons.  There will be living waters flowing from Jerusalem (which is probably a reference to the Spirit, see John 7:37-39).  We see that the Lord will reign over all things.  Likewise, the new Jerusalem will be exalted while all the rest of the land will be humbled.  Godís people will dwell secure in Godís city.  Johnís description of the New Heavens and New Earth and New Jerusalem in Revelation 21-22 is very similar to Zechariahís.  They are both pointing us to the coming Day.

Not only this, but Zechariah describes how the nations will be judged and plundered.  Look at verses 12-15.  As we have seen before, the judgment will be severe for all of the enemies of God.  Zechariah may not use the same language as Jesus and the writers of the New Testament, but the message is the same: God will judge His enemies and their punishment will be horrible.

Zechariah also speaks of the worship on that Day.  The description he gives us is couched in Old Testament terminology, but is nevertheless significant.  Look at what he says in verses 16-19.  The feast of booths, or tabernacles, was a time of thanksgiving in Israel and a time when even those from other nations could participate.  Zechariah seemingly offers a hypothetical rebellion from other nations, but notes that such rebellion would be met with such severe judgment (no rain) that it would not happen.  It is hard to know what to make of this, but it seems that the prophet is emphasizing the fact that the worship will include the nations and will be characterized by faithful obedience.  Of course I need to note that some might put this rebellion during the time of the millennial reign, which would allow for a more literal interpretation.

Finally, Zechariah concludes with the fact that all shall be holy on that Day.  Look at what he says in verses 20-21.  Everything will be holy, even the bells of the horses.  There will no longer be a distinction between sacred and secular for all shall be sacred.  All will be holy on that Day.

Why will this happen?

So then, these things (and others) will happen on the Day.  Yet, does Zechariah tell us why these things will happen?  I think we can offer a few reasons from the text.

First, these things will happen as part of Godís judgment of His enemies.  You cannot read the book of Zechariah without seeing the terrible punishment that is promised for all of Godís enemies.  They may appear to have things going their way in this life, but a Day is coming Zechariah tells us, when they will reap what they have sown.  We see in this text that it will not be pleasant.  The coming judgment is not to be ignored.  It is not to be trivialized.  You must reckon with the fact that God is coming to judge.  The Day of the Lord will be a day of judgment for all of those who remain Godís enemies.

Second, these things will happen as a part of Godís deliverance of His people.  Again, we have seen this theme run through Zechariah as well.  He is going to deliver His people from their enemies.  He is going to deliver them from their sins.  He is going to draw them to himself.  In our text this morning we see that He is going to draw out men even from other nations to be apart of His people (verses 16-19).  The people of God will not be limited to just Israelites.  No, others will be apart of His people forever.  Likewise, His people will be holy.  They will not be disobedient or common.  No, they will be obedient and holy.  They will be set apart as His.

Third, these things will happen because the Lord will reign over all.  Look again at verse 9.  On that Day the Lord will rule over all.  He will be the reigning King and only His Kingdom will remain.  Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.  All rebellion will be squashed.  Obedience and holiness will pervade.  People may think that they are the rulers of their own lives, but on that Day it will be clear that there is only One King.  All of the things that Zechariah tells us will happen, will happen as part of His future reign.

When will this happen?

Of course the million dollar question remains: when will all of these things happen.  Now, in one sense we know, because Jesus told us, that we cannot know exactly when these things are going to happen.  You would think that this would put an end to any and all speculation about the date of Christís return.  Unfortunately it has not.  People continue to make predictions and continue to believe that they have figured it out.

As I noted above, there are other issues to discuss that deal with the Ďwhení question.  For example, the issue of the millennial reign of Christ bumps up against this question.  The debate in this discussion centers around the question of when will the millennium happen?  This issue involves many other texts and is beyond the scope of this sermon, but we should note that however you come down on the issue will impact your understanding of the text.  Since I am not hard and fast on my opinion of the millennium, I can see how the different sides could use this chapter to support their view.  I lean towards being pre-millennial (which would possibly see some of the things described here as happening during the millennial reign of Christ), but I also like the notion that once Christ returns, judgment will happen and the eternal state will begin (more amillennial). 

Since that is not all that helpful, let me try to say what I think we can firmly conclude from this text (and other texts on the return of Christ): The Lord will return in the future and it could happen at any time.  Look at 14:7.  The Lord knows the day (and notice that it is only known by Him).  He alone knows and He has told us that it could be any Day, which leads me back to my original question, namely how can we be ready for the coming Day of the Lord?

Zechariah tells us that everything, even the Ďcommoní things, will be holy on that Day.  He concludes: And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day.  This possibly refers to abuses in the Temple in Zechariahís day, but it at least points us to the warning of Revelation 21: But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.  Only the holy will be there.  Only the holy will be prepared. 

So then, how can we be holy?  How can we be prepared?  By repenting of our sins and trusting in Christ who lived a perfect life and died on the cross and was raised on the third Day.  If we are going to be prepared for the coming Day, then we must deal with all the days of redemptive History.  We must acknowledge that we are sinners like Adam and in need of a Savior.  We must believe that Christ was indeed God in the flesh.  We must hope in the fact that His death was enough to pay the penalty that we owed, being assured by His glorious resurrection.  I plead with you today, be prepared for the coming Day.  Be holy by trusting in Christ and following hard after Him.  Be ready for Christ through Christ.  Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 May 2010 )

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