“Many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).
Since 1980, Jerusalem has been essentially annexed by Israel. Evidently, Jerusalem will remain Israel’s hereafter. Something happened in 1980 respecting Jerusalem, which was little observed at the time. But hindsight suggests it had deep meaning. “The Jerusalem Law … is a common name [for the] ‘Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel,’ passed by the Knesset on 30 July 1980” (“Jerusalem Law,” Wikipedia).
This declaration is of note to us, in part, because of the date. After the revolt of Israel against Rome, Jerusalem fell to the Roman army in the campaign of Titus during the Jewish year from the autumn of 69 AD to the autumn of 70 AD. The year 1914, during which World War I began, is a year parallel to 69 AD. That is, 1914 is 1845 years later. The fall of Masada, which ended the Jewish revolt, was in 73 AD, and the parallel date is 1918, the year that closed World War I.
However, there was another revolt later. That was the Bar Kochba Revolt, which collapsed in 135 AD. Thereafter Rome made Jerusalem off limits to Israelites under pain of death. The city was gone to them in every sense. The parallel year, 1845 years later, was 1980, when Israel declared that Jerusalem would remain Israeli, undivided, and be the capital of Israel thereafter.
When Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 AD, it would be another 65 years until 135 AD. The judgment against Israel then became so complete that the Jewish people became scattered remnants. That number of years, 65, is mentioned in a prophecy by Isaiah. “Within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people” (Isaiah 7:8). This gives added weight to the parallel year 1980, when Jerusalem, by Israeli Law, was declared to be “complete and united … the capital of Israel … the seat of the President of the State, the Knesset, the Government, and the Supreme Court.”
Remember Isaiah’s promise to Hezekiah, that the enemy would not so much as shoot an arrow into the city, so complete would be God’s protection of Jerusalem (Isaiah 37:33). As God preserved Jerusalem from falling to Sennacherib, and as God preserved it from the alliance by Moab, Ammon, and Edom in the days of Jehoshaphat, so we anticipate that God will preserve Jerusalem from the threat by Gog and his allies, still impending.1
(1) An editor suggests a need to briefly explain why Zechariah 14:2 need not be a problem. Br. Albert Hudson, in his work “Zechariah” (pdf available by googling), commented that Zechariah 13:7 through 14:2 is structured in poetic verse as a distinct unit. It “is written in a style dissimilar from that which goes before or comes after. It really forms a self-contained little section in its own right. Up to chapter 13:6 and also from chapter 14:3 onward, the style is prose narrative … But this little section is not narrative and it is not prose; it is poetry written in the characteristic style of Hebrew poetry. … The passage consists of nine couplets, the typical form of Old Testament poetry, arranged in sets of three each.”
In this case, these verses refer to the death of Jesus, the shepherd, then God’s judgment against two parts of Israel (the religious and political leaders), with the third part (those of faith in Jesus) brought through that fire, refined as silver and gold, and recognized by God as “my people.” Then the passage describes the taking of Jerusalem by Rome. All of this relates to the close of the Jewish Age. Thereafter, Zechariah 14:3 and forward speaks of God’s deliverance of Israel at the opening of the Kingdom many centuries later.
A similar gap in the prophetic narrative appears also between the close of chapter 11, and the opening of chapter 12. Zechariah 11:13 refers to the betrayal of Jesus, but Zechariah 12:2 is many centuries later, when God makes “Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about.”
Zechariah 13:7-14:2, as arranged by Br. Albert Hudson
(1) Awake, O sword, against my shepherd;
And against the man that is my fellow.
(2) Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered;
And I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
(3) And it shall come to pass that in all the land two parts therein shall be cut off and die;
But the third shall be left therein.
(4) And I will bring the third part through the fires;
And I will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried.
(5) They shall call on my name;
And I will hear them.
(6) I will say, it is my people;
And they shall say, the Lord is my God.
(7) Behold, the day of the Lord cometh;
And thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
(8) For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle;
And the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished.
(9) And half of the city shall go forth into captivity;
But the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Categories: 2023 Issues, 2023-March/April