The Lord’s Triumph and Reign
Open Your Bible
Zechariah 14:1-21, John 1:5, Revelation 22:1-5
BY Guest Writer
Honestly? I don’t know what to do with this chapter. From pillage to plague to panic—turns out the challenges for Jerusalem were not finally resolved in chapter 12. Attacks against it continue to ratchet up, but not for long. There is hope ahead: The Lord stands victorious on the Mount of Olives; a major seismic event shifts the mountain; there is strange, indescribable daylight; and water flows from Jerusalem east and west in all seasons. Echoing Ezekiel, pointing back to Eden, and looking forward to Revelation, this is the river of the water of life, nurturing fruitfulness and healing, and ending the curse (Ezekiel 47:1–12; Revelation 22:1–5).
Somewhere along the way, Jerusalem will be secured—for good—and survivors from the nations that were attacking the city will experience an about-face and will come to Jerusalem every year to worship! It’s no wonder their minds were changed; the plague unleashed against them is hideous to behold. Their journey to Jerusalem will be a pilgrimage, coinciding with the Feast of Tabernacles, and former enemies will now be part of that annual celebration! (See Deuteronomy 16:13–15.)
Think of a possible connection to the Gospels. This final appearance of the Lord on the Mount of Olives, linked with the Feast of Tabernacles, may underlie one of Peter’s irrepressible outbursts. Upon seeing Jesus transfigured before his very eyes as they were on a high mountain, he offered to make three tents (tabernacles) for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus (Matthew 17:1–4). The former two make their final Old Testament appearance at the end of Malachi, anticipating the coming Day of the Lord. Peter expressed his Messianic expectations, lodged in a fabric of biblical allusions.
It seems that what I initially dismissed as a hodgepodge of imagery in Zechariah 14, is actually spot-on. The Lord will appear! How will we possibly wrap our minds around everything that will be part of that marvelous spectacle?
One thing is certain: The Lord will be the one and only King over all the earth—even cooking pots and horse bells will testify to that truth as they will be inscribed with “holy to the Lord.” Everyone and everything will bow in allegiance. This will be a radical shift away from the culture of today. It makes me wonder how we will even handle what’s to come.
Indeed, we are left with questions. That’s the way it should be when we are privy to even the smallest hints regarding the unknown future. How could we possibly tie it all up in a tidy package? Nevertheless, here’s a safe and familiar resting place: we trust in the Lord who was, and is, and is to come. He sits on the throne alongside the Lamb, and we will see His face in the new Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1–5). Amen.
Elaine A. Phillips received a BA in social psychology from Cornell University, an MDiv from Biblical Theological Seminary, and an MA in Hebrew from the Institute of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem, where she and her husband, Perry, studied and taught from 1976–79. She holds a PhD in rabbinic literature, and teaches Biblical Studies at Gordon College. She also serves as a historical geography field instructor for Jerusalem University College. She has published a commentary on Esther in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary; a devotional book, With God, Nothing Is Impossible; and, most recently, An Introduction to Reading Biblical Wisdom Texts.