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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.

He repeats the same thing, and almost in the same words; but yet it is not done without reason: for we ought to consider how difficult it was to believe what is said, as the Jews who had returned to their country were few in number, and unwarlike, and on every side opposed by their enemies. Since then the Church was almost every moment in danger, it was no wonder that the faithful had need of being strengthened under their trials, which often disturbed and harassed their minds. This then is the reason why the Prophet repeats often the same thing.

This, he says, shall be the sin of Egypt and of all nations, etc. The word חטאת, chethat, properly means wickedness, sin; but as piaculum in Latin sometimes means sin, and sometimes expiation, so חטאת, chethat, in Hebrew: it signifies at one time sin, at another the sacrifice by which sin is atoned: and hence Christ is said to have been made sin; for when he offered himself as an expiation, he sustained the curse which belonged to us all, by having it transferred on himself (Galatians 3:13.) As Christ then was an expiation, he was on this account called sin. And the Greek translators did not change the name, because they saw that חטאת, chethat, in Hebrew, is taken for a sacrifice or punishment as well as for sin; hence they used the word hamartia indiscriminately. 197197     The Targum paraphrases it “the punishment of sin,” and so do Jun., and Trem., and Piscator. The word “sin” is retained by Jerome, Cyril, and Marckius. But Newcome and Henderson, in accordance with our version and that of Calvin, render it “punishment.” — Ed.

So then the Prophet says that this would be the sin or the punishment of Egypt and of all nations, as though he had said, “If they despise the God of Israel and condemn his worship, such a contumacy shall not be unpunished; for God will show himself to be the vindicator of his own glory.” And hence we conclude, that nothing ought to be more desired by us than that God should reveal himself to us, so that we may not presumptuously wander after superstitions, but purely worship him; for no one rightly worships God, except he who is taught by his word. It is then a singular favor, when the Lord prescribes to us the rule by which we may rightly worship him: but when we assent not to his true and legitimate worship, we here see that our whole life is accursed. It now follows —

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