A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website. I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred. I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.
There is no debate that Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14 teach on the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power after the tribulation.
There is much debate that both Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14 teach on the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power after the Tribulation
Let’s discuss Zechariah 14 first. Zechariah is considered an apocalyptic book, with the last chapters containing visions that are difficult to understand, and is very similar, in some aspects as the book of Revelation. For Zechariah to mention that “His feet shall stand on the mount of Olives” and considering the highly symbolic nature of the vision (see below for considerations on the symbolic nature of the vision), it is difficult for me to take this completely literally.
It is important to compare scripture with scripture, so with that in mind, consider some of the OT prophets who spoke of similar circumstances – ie His feet on mountains….
Amos 4:13 – God “treads on the high places of the earth”
Does God literally walk on the mountains?
Micah 1:3-4 – states “the LORD cometh forth out of his place” and that He will “tread upon the high places of the earth” causing the mountains to be “molten under him” and the valleys “shall be cleft, as wax before the fire…”.(v4)
Will God literally come down out of heaven and walk on the high places causing the mountains to melt?
It seems Zechariah, along with many of the prophets, are describing future times of judgment (for at least the prophets current generation) in pictures that communicate to the Hebrew mind. (Remember that we live in a scientific, analytical age, that might not be as conducive to understanding the prophets as it is to understanding physics or mathematical concepts.)
Symbology of Zechariah
A few question to address if we take Zechariah in a literal manner
Zechariah 14:8 – the “fountain of living waters,” Could this phrase represent a spiritual truth? Zechariah 13:1 states “a fountain will be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity”
If we understand the fountain literally, the natural conclusion would be that the waters cleanse from sin.
Zechariah 14:10 – All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses.
I assume that if the Mount of Olives will be literally split, the same interpretive stance would be used to understand verse 10. If so, all of Jerusalem will be lifted up. Comparing scripture with scripture, I see Micah making some similar comments about Jerusalem (house of the Lord) in Micah 4:1
Micah 4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
Taken literally, the house of the Lord will be close to 6 miles above sea level (Mt Everest, at 29,000′ above sea level is 5.5 miles above sea level) How people will flow into this is hard to understand, with winds up to 177 mph, and temps dropping to -76^. (I hope the living water has antifreeze in it!)
I hope you understand that I am being a bit facetious, and I hope it is taken in with a “grain of salt”. (You see, even nowadays, we understand each other using phrases that are particular to our culture – ie a grain of salt.)
I find it to be a great challenge to try to understand the mindset of the OT prophet, and it takes time and patience to fit it all together.
One example is that when a prophet mentions “mountains” in a vision, he can sometimes mean a “kingdom. Check it out – it is a quick study that helped me in a somewhat better understanding of the Old Testament prophets.
Please visit next time as we continue to discuss issues that arise between my dispensational friend and myself.
Thanks for visiting and as always, I love getting comments from those who read this blog.
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.