Tuesday after Exaudi
Scripture: Zechariah 14:1-21 (NKJV)
14:1 Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst.
2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3 Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.
4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south.
5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the Lord my God will come, and gall the saints with You.
6 It shall come to pass in that day that there will be no light; The lights will diminish.
7 It shall be one day which is known to the Lord neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen that it will be light.
8 And in that day it shall be—that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur.
9 And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be “The Lord is one,” and His name one.
10 All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin’s Gate to the place of the First Gate and the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses.
11 The people shall dwell in it; And no longer shall there be utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
12 And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths.
13 It shall come to pass in that day that a great panic from the Lord will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor, and raise his hand against his neighbor’s hand;
14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be gathered together: Gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance.
15 Such also shall be the plague on the horse and the mule, on the camel and the donkey, and on all the cattle that will be in those camps. So shall this plague be.
16 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. 18 If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
20 In that day “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. 21 Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the Lord of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.
One of the most challenging aspects of Old Testament end-time prophecies is the timing of them. Zechariah’s prophecy speaks of the “day of the Lord,” which is usually a reference to the return of Christ at the Last Day. But some of the events described in the prophecy are events leading up to that day, beginning at the day of Pentecost and taking place all the way up until the establishment of the New Jerusalem in the new heavens and the new earth, just as Joel’s prophecy about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, cited by St. Peter on Pentecost, has the “last days” beginning with that outpouring and culminating with the Lord’s coming on the Last Day.
Another challenging aspect of prophecy is the use of picture language, where earthly places and events are used to depict spiritual truths. Zechariah uses such picture language to summarize for us the last days, and the Last Day itself. He shows us that the Church will be under attack, but ultimately her enemies will be destroyed; the kingdom of Christ—His rule in the hearts of men by the Holy Spirit—will spread throughout the world; and the Lord Himself will come at last with all His saints to judge and to reign forever over His people. The details of the prophecy may be cryptic, but the main points are clear enough to give hope to the people of God and a reason to rejoice.
We pray: O Lord, preserve us through the trials of this New Testament era. Nourish us with Your Word and Sacraments, and, in Your mercy, bring us safely to the Last Day, that we may dwell in Your house forever. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.