The Fury & Jealousy of the Lord: The Manifestation of the Messiah & the Defense of Jerusalem

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Zechariah, which would begin in the eighth month of the second year of the reign of Darius. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters seven through fourteen of this Old Testament book. “Again the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain” (Zechariah 8:1-3). “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Let your hands be strong, ye that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built. For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbour. But now I will not be unto the residue of this people as in the former days, saith the LORD of hosts. For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the LORD of hosts, and I repented not: So again have I Thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah: fear ye not. These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: and let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things I hate, saith the LORD” (Zechariah 8:9-17).

            “And the word of the LORD of hosts came unto me, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace” (Zechariah 8:18-19).

            “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: and the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (Zechariah 8:20-23).

            “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein there is no water. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the LORD God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south. The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar. And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land. For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! Corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids” (Zechariah 9:10-17).

            “And the LORD said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instrument of a foolish shepherd. For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces. Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! The sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: His arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened” (Zechariah 11:15-17).

            “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which I stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundations of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. IN that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the hoes of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, , as the mounting of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart. All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart” (Zechariah 12:1-14).

            “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, Two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God” (Zechariah 13:7-9).

            “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: Yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: but it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited” (Zechariah 14:1-11).

            “And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague. And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 14:12-21).

            A PROPHET OF VISIONS! THE PROPHETIC VISION OF THE COMING OF CHRIST! THE PROPHETIC VISION OF THE FIRST COMING OF CHRIST! THE PROPHETIC VISION OF THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST! THE BATTLE FOR JERUSALEM! NATIONS SHALL RISE UP AGAINST JERUSALEM! JERUSALEM SHALL BE A CUP OF TREMBLING AMONG THE NATIONS! THE PROPHET WHO PROPHESIED CONCERNING THE TWO APPEARANCES, MANIFESTATIONS AND COMINGS OF THE CHRIST. If you begin to study the words which are found in the prophetic book of Zechariah you will notice that his ministry began during a time of great ease, great complacency and perhaps even laziness among the remnant and residue of the Jewish people who lived and dwelt in the midst of the land of Judaea. During the days of Cyrus the Great, king of Persia the decree would go forth in the midst of the Persian Empire granting all Jews within and throughout the entire empire to return unto the land of their ancestors, and the land of their fathers—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What’s more, is that this decree of Cyrus the Great would powerfully proclaim the rebuilding of the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD which would once more stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. It’s important that we recognize and understand that when we read the words found in the prophetic book of Zechariah we are reading words which began to be proclaimed and prophesied during a time when the enemies and adversaries of the Jewish people seemed to have dominion and authority over them as they had brought the work of rebuilding the Temple and sanctuary of the living God to a complete halt and standstill. When they realized that simply weakening their hands and intimidating them would and could not work they resorted to bringing accusation against them before the king of Persia, and would secure a different king of Persia calling for the immediate halt of the building of the Temple and sanctuary of the living God. Upon receiving the decree and response from the king of Persia the enemies and adversaries of the Jews would with great force and power prevent them from rebuilding the Temple of the LORD among them once more in the land. The Old Testament book of Ezra reveals how the enemies and adversaries of the Jews would first seek to weaken their hands, would then raise an accusation against them before the king, and would ultimately use great force and power to halt and prevent the work of rebuilding the Temple and house of the LORD.

            It would be during the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia that the word of the LORD would come unto Haggai and Zechariah—Haggai in the sixth month of the second year, and Zechariah in the eighth month of the year—as they would call the Jewish people to rise up in the midst of the land and rebuild the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD. The LORD of hosts would raise up these two servants of His to challenge and convict the people concerning their ease and their complacency within the land—particularly and especially around the rebuilding of the Temple of the LORD. For far too long the work of rebuilding the Temple of the LORD had remained idle, stagnant and stale in the midst of the land as the people would carry out the building of their own houses, the planting of their own vineyards, and sowing in their own fields. The Jewish people would live and dwell in the midst of the land in their own houses, and yet the house of the LORD among them would remain incomplete and in need of finishing. I find it absolutely wonderful and incredible when considering the fact that the LORD raised up these two prophets during great days and times of ease, complacency and laziness, as well as during times of great intimidation before and at the hands of their enemies and adversaries. The LORD raised up these two servants of His in order that the people of Israel and Judah might resume the work of rebuilding the Temple once more. Moreover, the LORD would raise up these two prophets to strengthen the hands and hearts of the people of Israel and Judah in the face of their enemies and adversaries—and even in the face of the decree of the king. Stop and think about the awesome reality that despite the decree of the king that whoever prayed to anyone but the king during a thirty day period of time would be cast into the den of lions. Daniel knew and was aware of the decree of the king, and yet despite that decree he would still open his window three times a day and pray toward Jerusalem. What’s more, is we find that despite the decree of the king, and despite the intimidation of their enemies and adversaries, the Jewish people would rise up and engage themselves in the work of rebuilding the Temple and sanctuary of the LORD. The Jewish people would rise up under the prophetic leadership and guidance of Zechariah and Haggai and would send their own letter to the king calling and bringing into remembrance the decree which Cyrus king of Persia issued—not only for the return of the Jews unto their own land, but also the rebuilding of the Temple in the midst of them.

            It is absolutely incredible to consider how the LORD raised up two distinct prophetic voices during times of tremendous ease, comfort, complacency and perhaps even laziness to encourage the work to continue and be completed. The more I read and consider the words found in the prophetic book of Haggai and Zechariah the more I am brought face to face with the awesome truth that the LORD raised up these two faithful servants during a time when the work of rebuilding the sanctuary was needing to be carried out and completed. For too long the Jewish people dwelling in the midst of the land cowered in fear and intimidation before their enemies and adversaries, and for too long the work of rebuilding the Temple had remained dormant in the land, and the time had come for the work to resume in the land. The LORD would raise up these two Hebrew prophets during a time when the work of rebuilding the Temple would need to be completed, as the LORD desired that the Temple be raised up among them. It would be this Jewish Temple that would be rebuilt that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself would come unto during the days of Herod, and it would be the Temple of the LORD that would stand as a towering symbol of the glory and presence of the LORD once more dwelling in the midst of the people. The rebuilt Jewish temple standing in the midst of the land of Israel and in the city of Jerusalem would be a monumental symbol and sign to the nations and peoples of the earth that the Jewish people had returned to the land, and that the Jewish people had indeed been restored in the midst of the land. The Temple being rebuilt in the midst of the land would indeed be a wonderful and powerful symbol in the midst of the earth that the LORD was once more willing to dwell in the midst of His people and that He had indeed and had in fact restored them in the land. It is worth considering how vehemently the enemies and adversaries of the Jews attempted to prevent the work of rebuilding the Temple from being completed, and for a while there the work had indeed been brought to grinding halt. It would be the work of the rebuilding the Temple that would be one of the greatest tasks and assignments of the Jewish people in the midst of the land thus indicating the people had been fully restored in the land of their ancestors and forefathers.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the raising up of the prophetic voices of Haggai and Zechariah, and I can’t help but be drawn into and captivated by the awesome reality that the LORD of hosts raised up the prophets Haggai and Zechariah in order that the work of rebuilding the Temple might be carried out and completed, however, there was so much more to the message of these two Hebrew prophets than simply strengthening the hands and hearts of the people of God. You cannot read the words proclaimed by these prophets and not come face to face with the fact that they saw beyond simply the days in which they were living, and beyond the days in which they were called to prophesy. There is absolutely no denying, nor is there any mistaking the truth that these two prophets would see into the days ahead, which would indeed take place in the Last Days, and the end times. What’s more, is that the prophet Haggai would see a day and time when the glory of the latter Temple would be greater than the former temple, while Zechariah would see visions concerning both Joshua the high priest, as well as Zerubbabel the governor of Judaea when the Jewish people returned unto their own land. What’s more, is that as you continue reading the prophetic book of Zechariah you will find that it was in all reality a series of visions which this prophet would see beginning in the second year of the reign of Darius the Mede, but also which he would see in the fourth year of the reign of this same king. In all reality, I would dare say that the prophetic book of Zechariah bears a striking semblance and similarity to the prophetic book of Daniel, for Daniel was one who during the reign of Belshazzar king of Babylon would begin seeing visions concerning the future of the Jewish people—and not only visions concerning the future of the Jewish people, but also concerning the rise and fall of kingdoms and empires that would emerge upon the earth. What’s more, the prophet Daniel would also see visions concerning the Last Days and the end of time—visions which would describe great conflict in the latter days, and visions concerning the beast that would rise up out of the sea upon the earth.

            With all of this being said, it’s worth noting and pointing out that it would be during the fourth year of the reign of Darius king of Persia Zechariah the prophet of Judaea would see visions that would point to the coming and manifestation of the Messiah who would appear within and upon the earth. You cannot read the second half of the prophetic book of Zechariah and not encounter the awesome and incredible reality that he not only saw visions of the first coming of the Messiah, but he would also see visions of the second coming of the Messiah. In all reality, I would dare say the prophetic book of Zechariah is a powerful blueprint and testimony concerning the Messiah, as he would see visions concerning the Messiah who would manifest in the earth the first time, but would then reappear a second time. The question I can’t help but ask is whether or not Zechariah realized that he was seeing two different manifestations and revelation of Jesus the Christ. When these visions were being given unto Zechariah was he aware that what he was seeing was visions concerning the Messiah who would first come unto the earth as the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world? Was Zechariah aware of the awesome and incredible reality that what he was seeing was in essence two distinct sides of the coming Messiah who would be manifested within and upon the earth? It is truly something spectacular to think about and consider how Zechariah would behold and witness two distinct and two powerful manifestations of the Messiah—the first when He would come as a humble and lowly servant, but the second when he would come as great and mighty king who would rule and exercise dominion and authority upon the earth. I sit here today and I can’t help but be absolutely captivated with and by the truth that in the fourth year of the reign of Darius the Spirit of the LORD would reveal unto Zechariah very specific visions concerning the days to come—visions of the first manifestation and appearance of the Messiah, visions of the second manifestation and appearance of the Messiah, but also visions concerning Jerusalem and how Jerusalem would be a cup of trembling among and unto the nations. You cannot read the latter half of this prophetic book and not come face to face with the truly breathtaking visions Zechariah would see concerning those events which would take place in the latter days in the midst of the land which the Jewish people had returned to.

            The prophetic book of Zechariah is one which I am convinced must be read in direct connection with the prophetic book of Daniel, as well as the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ, for the prophet Daniel, the prophet Zechariah, and the apostle John would all see visions of the latter days and the end of times when the judgment of the LORD would come upon the earth, and when the Messiah Himself would be manifested within and upon the earth. There is very little doubt in my mind when reading the prophetic book of Zechariah that it is a book that is steeped in wonderful prophetic visions concerning the Messiah—and not only concerning the Messiah, but also the Messiah and His relationship to Jerusalem. If you read the four Gospel narratives concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ—particularly and especially the Gospel narrative which was written by the apostle John—you will find and discover that the movement and ministry of Jesus the Christ was not only intrinsically linked and connected to the feasts of Israel, but His movement and ministry in the midst of the earth was directly linked and connected with the city of Jerusalem. You cannot read the Gospel narrative which was written by the apostle John and not find Jesus’ movement having  a lot—if not everything to do with the Temple of the LORD, with the feasts of the LORD, and even with the city of Jerusalem. It is within the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle John you will encounter a strong and powerful connection between the Messiah and the city of Jerusalem—a connection which would reach its apex and culmination in the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus written by the apostle John when you find the Messiah ruling and reigning from the city of Jerusalem for a period of one thousand years. In fact, one of the greatest truths surrounding the Messiah was His link and connection to the city of Jerusalem, to the throne of David, and to exercising the dominion and authority of the living God among men within and upon the earth. During the three and a half years Jesus was manifested in the midst of men upon the earth He would exercise dominion and authority over demons, over unclean spirits, over leprosy, over death, and over all manner of sickness—even nature itself as He would bring two storms to a calm—however, there is another side and another dimension to the authority of Jesus that is found in His authority over the nations, over kingdoms, over peoples, over languages, over tribes and tongues.

            It is truly something worth thinking about and strongly considering when reading the prophetic book of Zechariah, for it is this prophetic book which came about during the fourth year of the reign of Darius the king of Persia, and during the days of the rebuilding of the Temple. The prophet Zechariah would see a series of visions which were recorded in the first half of this prophetic book—visions which would touch both Joshua the high priest, as well as Zerubbabel the governor of Judaea. The second half and latter portion of the prophetic book, however, was completely and altogether different from what was found in the first and opening half of it. I would dare say that the latter half of the prophetic book of Zechariah was more closely aligned with the prophetic book of Daniel because of the sheer and utter scope of that which Zechariah saw concerning the latter days, the end times, and specifically the manifestation of the Messiah. There are certain prophesies which are found within this portion of the prophetic book that would deal specifically and exclusively with the first coming of the Messiah as Zechariah would make bold and powerful prophecies that would ultimately be fulfilled during the days and times Jesus walked upon the earth. What’s more, is that as you read these chapters you will essentially get a powerful sense of two different Messiahs which would be manifested within and upon the earth. It was true that Zechariah would see powerful visions concerning the earthly life and ministry of the Messiah when He would be manifested in the earth, however, Zechariah would also see a second narrative and picture of the Messiah—one that would describe the Messiah as One who would come with all His holy angels and with all His saints. It was this which Daniel the prophet would see during the days of the reign of Belshazzar king of Babylon, as well as during the days of the reign of Darius the Mede who would rule and reign over the Persian Empire. In fact, I would dare say that it is absolutely necessary that we consider the words which are found in the prophetic book of Daniel in chapters seven through twelve, for there is an overwhelming amount of language found and contained within this book that describes and speaks to the latter days, the end times, and the manifestation of the Messiah, as well as a counterfeit Messiah and false “Christ” that would appear within the earth. With this in mind, consider the following words which are found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel beginning to read with and from the seventh chapter:

            “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:9-14).

            “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; and of the ten horns that  were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell: even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horsn out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, and to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart” (Daniel 7:17-28).

            “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And though his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand: and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes, but he shall be broken without hand. And the vision of the vening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision: for it shall be for many days. And I Daniel fainted, and was wick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it” (Daniel 8:23-27).

            “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary: and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:25-27).

            “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: and many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:1-4).

            As you read the prophetic words which Daniel wrote as they were revealed unto him by dreams, by visions, and by conversations and interactions with divine messengers sent from heaven you will encounter the awesome reality that this prophet of the LORD would see beyond simply the days in which he was raised up. It was indeed true that Zechariah was raised up side by side with Haggai that together they might strengthen the hands and hearts of the Jewish people to rebuild the Temple of the LORD, and to do so in the face of the opposition of their enemies and adversaries, however, Zechariah would see beyond simply those days in which he was living, for he would prophesy concerning the BRANCH which the LORD would raise up in the midst of the earth. I have previously written that the prophet Isaiah  might very well be considered as “the prophet of Christ” as perhaps no other prophet saw as much concerning the Messiah as Isaiah did. I have also written how the prophet Jeremiah was that prophet who most readily and most easily identified with the suffering of the Messiah during the days in which he would prophesy and proclaim the word of the LORD, however, what we must realize and recognize concerning Zechariah was that he would be given tremendous insight and tremendous vision concerning the latter days, concerning the end times, and concerning the coming of the Messiah—not only the first coming of the Messiah, but also the second coming of the Messiah. Moreover, the prophet Zechariah would prophesy a great deal concerning the city of Jerusalem, and great affliction, opposition, calamity and chaos which would rise up against it in the midst of the earth. While the prophet Ezekiel would see and receive the famous vision of the war of Gog and Magog, one might argue that Zechariah would see a vision concerning the trouble which Jerusalem would face and experience in the latter days. What’s more, is that it might even be true that the vision(s) which Zechariah would see and receive concerning Jerusalem go hand in hand and fit perfectly together with the vision with Ezekiel saw concerning a day of great trouble for the land of Israel—for the and without walls and gates—as perhaps the single greatest and strongest enemy and adversary they had ever faced would enter into and invade the land, and would seek to completely devastate and destroy the land in the midst of the earth.

            Perhaps one of the most striking and captivating realities surrounding this latter portion of the prophetic book of Zechariah is the emphatic declaration of the great love, the great affection, the great commitment, and the great covenant the LORD has with Jerusalem. You cannot read the words found within these passages of Scripture and not encounter the truth that the LORD was jealous over Zion and over Jerusalem with a great and furious jealousy—a jealousy that would be powerfully demonstrated and revealed in the latter half of this prophetic book. It is true that the LORD would bring His people out of the land of the Chaldeans, would bring them back into the land which He swore to their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and it is true that the Jewish people would rebuild the wall of the city, would repair the gates of the city, and would rebuild the Temple of the LORD in the midst of the city, but the prophet Zechariah saw and prophesied something truly captivating and beautiful within the latter portion of this prophetic book—namely, the LORD’s fierce and furious love for the city of Jerusalem, which was the apple of His eye. You cannot read the prophetic book of Zechariah without encountering two distinct realities concerning Jerusalem—the first being just how hotly contested and how controversial the city would be among the nations of the earth, and second being how fiercely and furiously the LORD loves and is committed to the city. Despite the tremendous amount of animosity, opposition and threats would surround the city of Jerusalem from the nations round about the land of Israel, the LORD would defend the city from all its enemies and adversaries. It is true that twice in history the city of Jerusalem would be devastated and destroyed, and that twice in the history of the Jewish people the walls and gates of the city would be devastated by the enemy and adversary. With that being said, however, the city of Jerusalem would be rebuilt by a Jewish people who would return to the land. The Jewish people would rebuild the walls and gates of the city of Jerusalem after seventy years of captivity and exile in the land of the Chaldeans, and the Jewish people would rebuild the city of Jerusalem after returning to the land a little over seventy years ago, and a little over fifty years ago after the city of Jerusalem would be united once more. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the eight chapter of the prophetic book of Zechariah beginning to read with the first and opening verse:

            “Again the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called the city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of this city shall be full ofboys and girl playing in the streets thereof. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? Saith the LORD of hosts. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the easy country, and from the west country; and I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness” (Zechariah 8:1-8).

            There is absolutely no mistake when reading the words found in these verses that the LORD was jealous for Zion—despite the fact that He had allowed its walls and gates to be breached and consumed with fire. The LORD did indeed turn the city over into the hands of the enemy and adversary, and yet once the seventy years of desolation which had been decreed for Jerusalem had been completed the LORD would bring His people back unto the land. What’s more, is that not only would the LORD bring His people back into the land, but He would also allow the city to be rebuilt in the midst of the earth. The wall of the city would be rebuilt and the gates therein repaired during the days of Nehemiah, and the Temple of the LORD would be rebuilt during the days of Ezra, Zechariah and Haggai. Eventually and ultimately the city of Jerusalem would once more be the city of David in the midst of the land of Judaea, and it would be a city which Jesus the Christ would journey to within and throughout His life and ministry upon the earth. What I find to be so intriguing about the city of Jerusalem is not only how the LORD allowed it to be destroyed twice within the course of history, but the LORD would also allow it to be rebuilt in the midst of the land. What’s more, is that although both the Babylonians and the Romans would destroy both the city of Jerusalem and the Temple of Jerusalem, the city itself would rise from the ashes and would be rebuilt in the midst of the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this powerful truth, for what we find and read in the prophetic book of Zechariah is this city which the LORD is so furiously and fiercely jealous over being a cup of trembling among the nations of the earth, and how the LORD would bring and would even allow the nations of the earth against the city of Jerusalem that He might enter into controversy with them. It would be the city of Jerusalem which would be the ultimate snare and trap among the nations of the earth, for those nations which seek to rise up against it to destroy and devastate it will find themselves contending with the LORD God who furiously fights for and defends it. One of the most powerful truths that is found within the final chapters of the prophetic book of Zechariah is how fiercely and furiously the LORD would defend and fight for the city of Jerusalem, and how the LORD would not allow it to be destroyed every again. The Babylonians and Romans would both destroy the city of Jerusalem, and the city would be rebuilt after both devastations and desolations, however, the city of Jerusalem which is present in the earth today can never and will never be destroyed nor devastated again. The LORD of hosts Himself will rise up and defend the city from the vast and various enemies and adversaries that would rise up against it in their own fury, rage, anger and fierceness.

            If you study Scripture you will find that there were at least two distinct times when a kingdom and empire was outside the walls and at the gates of the city. The first would be during the days of Hezekiah king of Judah when Sennacherib king of Assyria would bring the entire army unto Jerusalem after having captured all the defenced cities of Judah. If you read the narrative of this invasion of Judah and siege of Jerusalem you will find that it would be short-lived as Hezekiah would not only move with fear before the LORD, but would also move with humility. You cannot read the narrative of Hezekiah and the Assyrian army outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem without seeing his humility and fear—first in inquiring of the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, as well as his taking the words which Rabshakeh put in letters and sent unto Hezekiah. We know from the prophetic book of Jeremiah that Hezekiah moved with fear during the days of Micah the Morasthite, as well as the prophetic ministries of Hosea and Isaiah, and in his fear of the LORD would seek the LORD in order that if it were possible He might deliver them out of the hands of this foreign enemy and adversary. Scripture will reveal that not only would the king of Assyria hear a rumor and report which would cause him to engage in battle with another nation and people, but ultimately in a single night the angel of the LORD would slaughter one-hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians, thus forcing Sennacherib and what was left of his army to return unto Assyria and to the capital city of Nineveh. We know that the LORD would deliver Jerusalem out of the hand of the Assyrian army during the days of Hezekiah, however, this would not be the case during the days of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah who both sat upon the throne of David in Jerusalem. In fact, it would be during the days of Zedekiah king of Judah the entire city of Jerusalem would be surrounded and come under siege—one which would last eighteen months before a breach was finally made in the wall and the enemy was able to march straight up into the city. Ultimately the city of Jerusalem would fall into the hands of the Babylonians as they would break down the wall, burn the gates with fire, and ultimately destroy the Temple of the LORD with fire as Nebuzar-adan would cast fire into the midst of it to burn it to the ground. There is absolutely no mistaking the tremendous reality that there were two distinct times within Scripture where the city of Jerusalem would face a threat outside its walls and at its gates which would seek to destroy and overthrow it.

            With this being said it’s worth noting that there would be at least one other time in the history of the Jewish people when the city itself would come under siege and would come under attack. This would be almost forty years after Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended unto the right hand of the Father. It would be in the year 70 AD when Rome would enter into and invade Judaea and would lay siege to the city of Jerusalem. Eventually and ultimately the city of Jerusalem itself would be captured by the Roman army as once more an enemy and adversary would breach the wall of the city, march straight up in the midst of it, and even destroy the Temple with fire. For almost nineteen hundred years the city of Jerusalem would remain a distant memory of what it once was as the LORD allowed a second enemy and adversary to lay siege to it, and ultimately destroy it. It is important that we understand these three distinct invasions of the land by enemies and adversaries, and how on two of these occasions the enemy, the adversary, and the empire which invaded the land would be successful in destroying the city of Jerusalem, as well as the Temple of the LORD in the midst of the city. Assyria, Babylon and Rome would all invade the land of Judah, and of these three enemy invasions one would be thwarted—not by man, nor by the weapons of man, but by the living and Almighty God—while the other two invasions would not only be successful, but would ultimately result in broken down walls, gates consumed with fire, and the Temple lying in ruin, rubble and ash. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what is found here within these three narratives, for while it is true that these three kingdoms and empires would march against the city of Jerusalem, the prophet Zechariah would see another enemy and adversary who would march up against the city of Jerusalem. The prophet Zechariah would indeed prophesy concerning the first coming and appearance of the Messiah, as well as the second coming and appearance of the Messiah,  but he would also prophesy concerning the city of Jerusalem and how the city of Jerusalem would itself be a cup of trembling among the nations. Ultimately, it’s almost as if the city of Jerusalem would be an invitation, a snare and a trap that would be set in the midst of the nations of the earth that the LORD might bring all the nations unto and against this ancient city of David that He might enter into controversy with them. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this prophetic book of Zechariah beginning with the first and opening verse of the twelfth chapter:

            “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundations of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will opening mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God. In that day I will make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:1-10).

            What we find in the twelfth chapter of this prophetic book of Zechariah describes the LORD taking the city of Jerusalem and making it a cup of trembling among the nations of the earth, and bringing the nations of the earth against it. You cannot read the words found within this chapter and not see a striking similarity to the words which Ezekiel the priest saw and prophesied concerning Israel and the holy land in the latter times and during the last days. Ezekiel saw a day coming when a great enemy and adversary—perhaps the greatest enemy and adversary Israel has ever faced—will come against it, and will not only invade the land, but would also seek to come against the city of Jerusalem. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if the words which we find in chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, as well as those words which are found in the twelfth and fourteenth chapters of the prophetic book of Zechariah are somehow linked and connected. Moreover, I can’t help but wonder if the prophet Ezekiel and the prophet Zechariah saw the same enemy and the same adversary entering into the land and seeking to come against the city of Jerusalem in the midst of the land. What we must realize and recognize, however, is that although all nations of the earth would be brought before, unto and against the city of Jerusalem, and although the city of Jerusalem would once more find itself surrounded by enemies and adversaries, the LORD of hosts would Himself rise up to defend the city with its walls and gates. In the prophetic vision which Ezekiel saw the LORD would rise up to defend the holy land of Israel, as the LORD would not allow the enemy and adversary to consume, devastate and destroy the land. In the prophetic book of Zechariah we find this prophet of the LORD seeing the nations of the earth marching and coming against the city of Jerusalem, and how the LORD Himself would rise up to defend the city. Not only would the LORD rise up and defend the city, but it would be the LORD who would fight, resist and engage the enemy and adversary. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and incredible reality, for although at least three distinct kingdoms and empires would surround and lay siege to Jerusalem—Assyria, Babylon and Rome—and although two of those kingdoms and empires would be successful in destroying the city, the LORD would not allow these enemies, these adversaries, these nations, and these peoples to be successful in the march against the ancient city of Jerusalem. It would be the LORD of hosts who would rise up to defend the city of Jerusalem, and who would fight against their enemies. Consider now the following words found in the fourteenth and final chapter of the prophetic book of Zechariah:

            ”Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: but it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, nor day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place. From Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepress. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague. And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall ven go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain” (Zechariah 14:1-17).

As I bring this writing to a close it is absolutely incredible to consider the awesome reality that although Babylon and Rome would both be successful in marching against and laying siege to the city of Jerusalem—and not only laying siege to it, but also utterly destroying it together with its walls and gates—the LORD would not allow this sacred, this ancient and this holy city to be destroyed by enemies and adversaries again. What a truly awesome and wonderful picture is found within these chapters—not only concerning the coming of the Messiah the first and second time, but also concerning the LORD’s fighting and the LORD’s defense of the city of Jerusalem. It is truly something awesome and spectacular to think about and consider that although the LORD would bring all nations of the earth against the city of Jerusalem, the LORD would rise up to fight against those nations, and the LORD would defend this ancient city of David called Zion and Jerusalem in the midst of the earth. The LORD of hosts would Himself rise up against the enemies and adversaries which would come against the city of Jerusalem, and unlike the days of the Babylonians and the Romans when the city was permitted to be destroyed, the LORD would not allow the city to be destroyed, and would turn and fight against all those nations and all those peoples which marched against the city. These nations and peoples would think to spoil and plunder the city of Jerusalem, and yet the LORD of hosts would spoil and plunder them, and would cause these nations to fall before the inhabitants of Israel and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Oh what a great and awesome God is that God who will rise up in that day and engage all the enemies and adversaries which would come up against Jerusalem and would seek to destroy it. How truly awesome, how truly powerful, and how truly strong is the LORD our God who will rise up in that day and be a fence for the city of Jerusalem and for the inhabitants therein. The LORD of hosts will indeed be a fence all around Jerusalem, and would even be as a wall of fire before and round about the city as He defended it from the enemies and adversaries which would come against it. What a truly strong and mighty God we have who can and will rise up against the enemies and adversaries of His people and fight against them as He did at the Red Sea and even against the Assyrians when one-hundred and eighty-five thousand were slaughtered in a single night.

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