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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 afterwards adds, I will gather all nations against Jerusalem. He confirms what I have already said, that God would be the author of those calamities, and thus he puts a restraint on the Jews, that they might not expostulate with him respecting the severity of their punishment. He then shortly intimates, that the nations would not come by chance to attack Jerusalem; and that whatever commotions would arise, they could not be ascribed to chance or to fortune, or to the purposes of men, but to the decree of heaven. He then bids them to look to God, that they might humble themselves umber his mighty hand, according to what Peter also does. (1 Peter 5:6.) He might have said in a briefer manner, “All the nations shall conspire;” but he ascribes this to God, and says, that he will bring them, like a prince, who collects an army, which he commands to fight under his banner. And by naming all nations, he reminds them that their trials would not be light; for such would be the union of enemies, and so large would be their number, that Jerusalem would be brought nigh to utter ruin. But afterwards he subjoins a consolation to moderate the grievousness of that calamity: yet he says first -

Taken shall be the city, plundered shall be the houses, and the women shall be ravished. What usually happens to a city taken by storm, the citizens of Jerusalem, the Prophet says, would have to endure. It is indeed an extreme outrage, when women are ravished by enemies; and then, poverty is often more grievous than death; and yet he says, that when deprived of their substance they would have to witness an outrage more hard to be borne than death itself, because their women would be subjected to such a disgrace.

He adds, that half part of the city would depart. He had said before that a third part only would be saved; but he now seems to be inconsistent with himself. But as to number we need not anxiously enquire, as I have elsewhere reminded you; for the Prophets often mention half part and then the third, when yet they mean the same thing. It is the same as though he had said, that the destruction would be so great, that hardly half of them would remain alive.

Now follows the consolation which I have mentioned, — that the residue of the people would not be exterminated from the city. By these words the Prophet teaches them, that though hard would be the condition of the city, as it would be reduced nearly to a waste, yet they who having returned to their country sincerely worshipped God, would be blessed; for the Church would ever remain safe, and that how much soever God might lessen the number, yet a part of the Church, however small, would be kept safe. The object then of the Prophet is to comfort the faithful, that they might sustain whatever evils might be at hand, and look for what God promises, even that a Church would again emerge, and that God would really prove that Jerusalem was not in vain his sanctuary, where he would bless the remnant which escaped, and escaped through his wonderful favor. He afterwards adds —

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