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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 continues the same subject, that God’s power would be then conspicuous in putting enemies to flight. He indeed illustrates here his discourse by figurative expressions, as though he wished to bring the Jews to see the scene itself; for the object of the personification is no other but that the faithful might set God before them as it were in a visible form; and thus he confirms their faith, as indeed it was necessary; for as we are dull and entangled in earthly thoughts, our minds can hardly rise up to heaven, though the Lord with a clear voice invites us to himself. The Prophet then, in order to aid our weakness, adds a vivid representation, as though God stood before their eyes.

Stand, he says, shall his feet on the mount of Olives. He does not here promise a miracle, such as even the ignorant might conceive to be literal; nor does he do this in what follows, when he says, The mount shall be rent, and half of it shall thorn to the east and half to the west 180180     “This sign,” [God’s feet standing on the mount,] says Kimchi, “is a type of the clearing of the Gentiles who came against Jerusalem, and who shall fall scattered about.” The Targum gives this paraphrase, “He shall be revealed in his power.” “The rending,” says Drusius, “signifies the flight of the nations, who, on finding God fighting against them, shall flee away in all directions: so that the mountain on which the besiegers fixed their camp shall seem as though divided into parts.”
   Theodoret’s language is to the same purpose; he regarded the mountain as symbolic of the enemies assembled against the city — [ὄρος καλει τήν φάλαγγα των πολεμίων], etc.

   Marckius’s view of the text is as follows: This mountain rendered access on the east to the city and temple difficult, and intercepted the morning light and the flowing of waters in that direction, both which are referred to afterwards in verse 7 and 8. God’s descent on this mountain was a sign of his great displeasure with that nation, and the rending of the mountain was emblematic of a way being made open for the gospel to spread throughout the world. And he regarded the Lord’s coming in the next verse as his coming in the ministration of the gospel to render it successful through the world by means of his saints, his apostles, and ministers. — Ed.
This has never happened, that mount has never been rent: but as the Prophet could not, under those grievous trials, which might have overwhelmed the minds of the godly a hundred times, have extolled the power of God as much as the exigency of the case required without employing a highly figurative language, he therefore accommodates himself, as I have said, to the capacity of our flesh.

The import of the whole is, — that God’s power would be so remarkable in the deliverance of his Church, as though God manifested himself in a visible form and reviewed the battle from the top of the mountain, and gave orders how everything was to be done.

He says first, Stand shall his feet on the mount of Olives. Why does he not rather say, “In the city itself?” Even because he meant by this mode of speaking to show, that God would watch, that he might see what would be necessary for the deliverance of his Church. All these things, I know, are explained allegorically, — that Christ appeared on the mount of Olives, when he ascended into heaven, and also, that the mount was divided, that it might be passable, and that the apostles might proceed into the various parts of the world, in order that they might assail all the nations: but these are refinements, which, though they please many, have yet nothing solid in them, when they are by any one properly considered. I then take a simpler view of what the Prophet says, — that God’s hand would be sufficiently conspicuous, whenever his purpose was to aid his miserable and afflicted Church.

The same view is to be taken of what follows, that a great valley would be in the middle, for the rent would be one half towards the north and the other half towards the south. It is the same thing as though he had said, that Jerusalem was as it were concealed under that mountain, so that it was hid, but that afterwards it would be on an elevated place, as it is said elsewhere, “Elevated shall be the mountain of the Lord,” say both Isaiah and Micah, “above all mountains.” (Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1.) That hill, we know, was small; and yet Isaiah and Micah promise such a height as will surpass almost the very clouds. What does this mean? Even that the glory of the God of Jerusalem will be so great, that his temple will be visible above all other heights. So also in this place, Rent, he says, shall be the mount of Olives, so that Jerusalem may not be as before in a shaded valley, and have only a small hill on one side, but that it may be seen far and wide, so that all nations may behold it. This, as I think, is what the Prophet simply means. But those who delight in allegories must seek them from others. It now follows —

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