354 - A Prophecy of Peace on Planet Earth (Zechariah 12–14)
God will never abandon His people or His promises. That great and certain truth assures us that there will come a day of peace and justice in this world, when holiness will reign.
A Prophecy of Peace on Planet Earth
When you hear the quote “The history of mankind is the history of war,” you might think some famous historian or philosopher said that. You would be wrong! It actually came from a modern songwriter. The truth is, you do not have to be a philosopher or historian to recognize this characteristic of world history, and you sure cannot deny it—“the history of mankind is the history of war.”
Everybody longs for peace—a time when big wars and small wars alike finally come to an end. But peace never seems to last. I have heard it said that peace is when everybody stops fighting to reload.
But the Bible tells us a day of peace and justice will come to Planet Earth and the human race. And it is going to arrive when Jesus Christ returns and establishes His kingdom according to God’s promise. And think about this: When Jesus Christ returns, it will be in the midst of one last great battle—a battle He will win decisively in that day.
As the book of Zechariah is coming to a close, the prophet centers his thoughts on Israel and the return of Jesus, Israel’s Messiah, “in that day.” In fact, the expression “in that day” is repeated nineteen times in these three final chapters of Zechariah.
Chapter 12 begins with this wonderful reminder that the Lord is the one “who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him.” His power as creator God gives us the assurance that He will be victorious. If He is able to create the world, He certainly is able to calm the world and bring it peace.
Before world peace finally arrives, however, there will be world turbulence. Zechariah’s message describes the coming tribulation on earth and the final attack of the Antichrist on Jerusalem in these last days. This is part of the final military campaign that ends with the Battle of Armageddon. Verse 3 tells us—and just imagine this—“All the nations of the earth will gather against [Jerusalem].”
The odds are overwhelmingly in favor of the Antichrist, but God does not operate by the numbers. The Lord will bring confusion upon these armies and empower the inhabitants of Jerusalem with “strength through the Lord” (verse 5).
We read this in verse 8:
“On that day the Lord will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them . . . shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the Lord, going before them.”
Then in verse 10 the prophecy shifts to the spiritual work God will carry out at this same time:
“I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child.”
This is God’s work of grace that will move the Jewish people to repent and look in faith to Jesus as their Messiah. As the Lord descends, they will look upon Him whom they pierced—a clear reference to the Lord’s crucifixion and the piercing of His side when He was on the cross (John 19:37).
There is going to be a national revival, so to speak, among the Jewish people, as God works His grace into their hearts so that they believe in Jesus as their Messiah and Savior.
Their conversion to Christ will bring spiritual cleansing from sin. This is described in the first verse of chapter 13 as a fountain of forgiveness, and that forgiveness comes through the sacrifice, the shed blood, of Christ. The hymnwriter put this truth well when he wrote:
There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
This is the fulfillment of the new covenant promise of forgiveness of sins back in Ezekiel 36.
Verse 7 then shifts rather suddenly back to the rejection of Jesus at His first coming. Actually, verses 7 to 9 extend from Jesus’ crucifixion all the way through the tribulation period. Verse 7 says, “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered,” referring to Israel’s rejection of their true Shepherd. Though the Messiah’s death was God’s plan all along as the once-for-all sacrifice for sins, the nation would suffer the consequences of their rejection of Him by being scattered among the nations, as God had promised.
Ultimately, this scattering of the sheep—Israel—will result in this: “Two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive” (verse 8). The context indicates this will occur in the future tribulation of the end times, when Israel in particular suffers great persecution (see Matthew 24:15-28; Revelation 11:1-7; 12:1-17).
The one-third who survive will be prepared through their sufferings and ultimately call upon the Lord to be saved. Verse 9 says, “They will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” As Romans 11:26 tells us, at this time “all Israel will be saved.”
Beloved, God is not getting rid of Israel. The church has not replaced Israel. Listen to the prophet Zechariah—God is going to bring Israel to repentance and back into their promised land.
Zechariah 14 takes us into that final attack on Jerusalem by the world’s armies, under the leadership of the Antichrist. Jerusalem will initially suffer under this great onslaught; verse 2 says, “The city shall be taken and the houses plundered.” Half the inhabitants will go into exile, but the rest “shall not be cut off from the city.”
It is just when things look hopeless that the Lord intervenes. Verse 3 declares, “Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.”
Israel could not have a better ally! “On that day,” verse 4 says, the Messiah will stand on the Mount of Olives, returning there just as He left there at His ascension centuries earlier (Acts 1:6-12). When the Lord touches down on the Mount of Olives, we are told that the mountain will be divided, forming a valley. Through this valley, the inhabitants of Jerusalem will flee to safety (Zechariah 14:4-5).
Then we read in verse 5, “The Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.” The holy ones are angels and believers from heaven who accompany the Messiah as He descends from heaven and wins this battle.
Now this really is not much of a battle; those attacking Jerusalem will be destroyed. Verse 12 describes the scene:
Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.
Many of these soldiers will simply turn to dust right where they are standing. Verse 13 describes the panic that results: these soldiers will actually turn on each other, and the armies of the world will be swiftly defeated.
The rest of Zechariah 14 brings this book of prophecy to a close by giving us some details about Christ’s millennial kingdom, which will follow this great victory. Gentiles who have come to faith in Christ during the tribulation and survived to the end will enter the kingdom, along with Jewish believers who survived the tribulation period. They will join together in worshiping King Jesus in Jerusalem.
True and lasting peace will finally arrive on earth with Christ’s kingdom, a kingdom that will also be characterized by holiness and joy and grace. What a wonderful future awaits all of us who know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Yes, we have peace in our hearts today, but one day there will be peace on earth as the Prince of Peace sits on His throne in His glorious kingdom. Then, and only then, there will be peace on earth at last.
 It is commonly attributed to Mike Love, a member of the American band The Beach Boys.
 William Cowper, “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood.”
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