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Future Warfare and Final Victory


See, a day is coming for the L ord, when the plunder taken from you will be divided in your midst. 2For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses looted and the women raped; half the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3Then the L ord will go forth and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 4On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley; so that one half of the Mount shall withdraw northward, and the other half southward. 5And you shall flee by the valley of the L ord’s mountain, for the valley between the mountains shall reach to Azal; and you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then the L ord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

6 On that day there shall not be either cold or frost. 7And there shall be continuous day (it is known to the L ord), not day and not night, for at evening time there shall be light.

8 On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea; it shall continue in summer as in winter.

9 And the L ord will become king over all the earth; on that day the L ord will be one and his name one.

10 The whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft on its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. 11And it shall be inhabited, for never again shall it be doomed to destruction; Jerusalem shall abide in security.

12 This shall be the plague with which the L ord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh shall rot while they are still on their feet; their eyes shall rot in their sockets, and their tongues shall rot in their mouths. 13On that day a great panic from the L ord shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of a neighbor, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other; 14even Judah will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be collected—gold, silver, and garments in great abundance. 15And a plague like this plague shall fall on the horses, the mules, the camels, the donkeys, and whatever animals may be in those camps.

16 Then all who survive of the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the L ord of hosts, and to keep the festival of booths. 17If any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the L ord of hosts, there will be no rain upon them. 18And if the family of Egypt do not go up and present themselves, then on them shall come the plague that the L ord inflicts on the nations that do not go up to keep the festival of booths. 19Such shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to keep the festival of booths.

20 On that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the L ord.” And the cooking pots in the house of the L ord shall be as holy as the bowls in front of the altar; 21and every cooking pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be sacred to the L ord of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and use them to boil the flesh of the sacrifice. And there shall no longer be traders in the house of the L ord of hosts on that day.

Here is subjoined a more cheering prophecy, — that the grace of God would yet prevail. Whatever evils, and troubles, and dangers, and fears, and diseases awaited the faithful, he yet says that in such miseries they would still be made happy. And this ought to be carefully observed, for nothing can be more suitably found to alleviate our sorrows than to put in the balance God’s benefits on one side, and on the other the punishments and chastisements which he brings on us; for as God’s mercy and kindness always greatly preponderate, it cannot be but that we shall be able to say with holy Job,

“If good things have we received from the Lord’s hand,
why should we refuse evil things?” (Job 2:10.)

This then is what Zechariah sets before us, — that though the Church may be harassed by many cares, and subject to many fears, and terrified by many dangers, and be as it were in trepidation, yet the grace of God, if rightly viewed, is sufficient to administer invaluable comfort, for go forth shall living waters from Jerusalem 184184     “Living, that is, running waters. This passage refers to the wide effusion of divine knowledge from Jerusalem when restored.” — Newcome.
   The Gospel blessings are often mentioned as waters. See Isaiah 55:1; Jeremiah 2:13; Ezekiel 47:1; John 4:10. “Perennial waters” is the rendering of Dathius. — Ed.

This prophecy no doubt refers to the kingdom of Christ, and this may be sufficiently proved by other passages. The Prophet then has hitherto spoken of the many afflictions, which were nigh at hand, in order that the Jews might not faint or entirely fail; but he now directs their minds to the kingdom of Christ, from whence they were to look for not only a deliverance from all evils, but also the full restitution of the Church, and as it were the renovation of the world.

There is here no doubt an implied contrast between living waters and those which soon dry up: hence he says, that they would flow continually summer and winter. 185185     “In those countries most springs failed during summer.” — Newcome. Judea, we know, was subject to want of water, and there were no waters around Jerusalem, except the spring of Siloam, which had waters in abundance, and supplied the wants of the citizens. But the Prophet promises living waters, which would not be like occasional streams, but flow continually. At the same time he seems to regard something higher. As by living waters he understands those which are spiritual, so he compares these waters with all those streams which are earthly; as though he had said, “the fountain from which the two streams arise is inexhaustible, so that its exuberance shall never fail, but shall send forth streams from one sea to the opposite sea, and shall water the farthest regions of the earth.”

By the eastern sea many understand the Lake Asphaltes, but it seems to me more probable that the Prophet speaks of the Persian Sea; 186186     Both Newcome and Henderson consider it to be the Lake Asphaltes or the Dead Sea. The land of Canaan is here throughout contemplated, and not the whole world, as Calvin and many others have thought. The land of Canaan was emblematic of the land of the Church, the whole world; hence what is promised to extend to the extremities of its borders is to be understood, when it appertains to Christ’s kingdom, as extending to the utmost limits of the earth. — Ed. for if he had said that the waters would go forth to that lake, the distance would be very short; but he meant on the contrary to show, that the copiousness of the waters would be so large and abundant that though they would pass through the whole earth, yet their flow would never cease. By the hinder sea he no doubt meant the Mediterranean. The import of the whole is, — that thong the earth were previously dry, yet such would be the abundance of waters as to be sufficient for all, not only as in former times to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but also to all the Jews in whatever part of the country they might dwell.

Now, since the language is metaphorical, we must bear in mind what I have lately said, — that here is set forth the spiritual grace of God; nor is it a new thing to apply the word waters to the Spirit of God:

“I will pour forth waters on the dry land
and rivers on the thirsty land” (Isaiah 44:3;)

and again,

“I will give clean waters.” (Ezekiel 36:25.)

There is a twofold reason why Scripture gives the name of waters to the Holy Spirit, — because he performs the two offices of cleansing and of watering: for we are like barren and dry land, except the Lord by his Spirit from heaven gives us new vigor and conveys moisture to us. As then the earth derives moisture from heaven, that it may produce fruit, so also we must have conferred on us by the hidden power of the Spirit whatever vigor we may possess. Since then Zechariah promises a fountain of living waters, he understands that God’s grace would be offered to all the Jews, so that they might drink and be satisfied, and no more be exposed as formerly to the want of water.

If any one objects and says, that this interpretation seems forced, the answer is ready at hand, which is this, — that as it is certain that the prophet here speaks of the kingdom of Christ, this rule is to be remembered, — That whatever is foretold of Christ’s kingdom, must correspond with its nature and character. Since then the kingdom of Christ is spiritual, there is no doubt but that when Scripture, as we have seen, promises a large produce of corn and wine, an abundance of all good things, tranquillity and peace, and bright days, it intends by all these things to set forth the character of Christ’s kingdom. We hence see what the prophet means by living waters; and then, why he says that they would go forth to the east and to the west; and lastly, why he adds, that they would flow in winter as well as in summer. It now follows —

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