Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What Do You Make Of This Passage? PART 1

I was reading this chapter yesterday. I was wondering how Covenant Theologians can read this and hold that "Israel" is "the church."

This contains the most gruesome details of the chapter:

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. (Zech 14)
I recommend clicking on the link and re-reading the entire thing if you haven't looked at it in a while.

What do you make of this passage?


  • The chapter deals with ends at the end of the present age then goes on to describe the Millennial Kingdom.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/11/2008 10:34 AM  

  • This passage seems to hardcode literal land promises, doesn't it?

    By Blogger bugblaster, at 4/14/2008 8:47 AM  

  • I would agree with Matthew. The horrible death described in these verses is most likely referring to Armageddon.

    By Anonymous Gordon Cloud, at 4/14/2008 1:26 PM  

  • Matthew,
    Thanks. You're the best!

    It does seem very literal, doesn't it?

    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/14/2008 1:38 PM  

  • I wanna know what non-dispensationalists do with it.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/14/2008 1:39 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    If this is a run on from the what do we take literally? discussion sof last week, then the issue should not be: I wanna know what non-dispensationalists do with it but what do the non PreMills do with it? I don't think the Dispensationalists have a monopoly on literally interpreting prophecy.


    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/14/2008 3:13 PM  

  • OK, what do the non PreMills do with it? ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/14/2008 4:18 PM  

  • Hi Rose,
    I don’t think any end time view is without some difficulties. It is a very complicated subject. No one has it all figured out including me. I've looked for some references by reformed Scholars on this chapter, but couldn't find much in my books. In the Geneva Study Bible notes on Zechariah 12:3, it says:
    The earthly Jerusalem of Zechariah’s day was a type of the church, the heavenly Jerusalem in which we now live by faith. (Heb. 12:22-24

    Hebrews 12: 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly [1] of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
    [1] 12:23 Or church

    I checked out Halley's Bible Handbook. As far as I can tell, he is neither dispensational or reformed.
    Mourning in the House of David. The thoughts here are evidently centered around the House of David. Though the language is difficult, yet there is clearly depicted a tragedy of some kind or other as occurring in the family of David, an occasion for great sorrow, when some leading personage of the family would be smitten (13:7), his hands be pierced (12:10; 13:6), and a fountain for sin be opened (13:1). It was to happen in the day when the house of David shall be as God (12:8). Only one family of David’s family was God. That one was Jesus. This identifies the person here referred to as "Branch” of 3:8 who would remove the sin of the earth in one day (3:9), and who would build “the house of God. (6:12), and rule from sea to sea (see under 6:9-15). It is an amazing forecast in detail of the Death of Jesus, in nowise applicable to any other known person. Thus the death of the Branch in David's family would be the source of God's power against the nations (12:2-4) and its efficiency would be shown in the eventual removal of idols and false prophets from the earth (13:2-5).

    14:1-2. Judah's Struggle with the Nations. (See on 12:1-6.)
    14:3-21. God's Victory and Universal Reign. The grand consummation of prophetic dreams, the day of the Lord's Return, and the inauguration of his Everlasting Kingdom. Some Biblical scholars think that verses 4-8 mean that Jesus, when he Returns, will literally make his throne on the Mount of Olives, that the mountain will literally be cleft, that waters literally will flow eastward and westward from Jerusalem, and that Jerusalem literally will be the center pilgrimages from nations outlined in verses 10-21. Others take the language to be a figurative representation of the New Heavens and New Earth, under the imagery of a benign, prosperous, and all-powerful earthly kingdom, as Revelation 21 describes Heaven under the imagery of a magnificent earthly city. The "two thirds" (13:8), may an the larger part of the nation that fell in the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), following their Rejection of Christ.--Henry H. Halley

    The only reformed book I have on end times is by Cornelius Venema, The Promise of the Future.
    Speaking of the battle of Armageddon, he mentions passages in Revelation and only makes a brief mention of Zechariah.

    ...Though this is the only instance of the New Testament where the battle of Armageddon is expressly mentioned, a number of passages in the book of Revelation speak of the war or the battle that will take place prior to the final victory of Christ and his people over their enemies (Rev. 17:14; 19:19; 20:8) This language is apocalyptic, describing end time events in language drawn from earlier Scriptural prophecies, and therefore ought not to be pressed too literally. But the language nonetheless underscores the present reality and future intensification of opposition to the Lord and His church, opposition whose futility and certain defeat is symbolized in a great victory to be won in this final battle/upheaval at the close of the age.
    ...Furthermore it should not be overlooked that this theme of a great and final conflict echoes several prophetic passages in the Old Testament. For example we are told in Joel 3:2 that when Jerusalem, the city of God , is restored, all the nations will be gathered together against it in the valley of Jehoshaphat. In Zechariah 14:2, the Lord declares that in the future He will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it...(Mentions also Ezekiel 38 and 39,Rev. 19:19 and 20:8)...
    These passages intimate, as a prophetic theme or motif, that the conclusion of God's redemptive working in history will be signalled by a great warfare between himself and His enemies, the end of which will be the latter's utter destruction.
    p. 182,183

    He makes one other mention of Zechariah on the chapter about the New Heaven and the New Earth. He mentions 1 Peter 3:5-13 and Romans 8 concluding with this:

    This creation will undergo a process of cosmic sanctification, so that every remainder and vestige of sin will be removed. All of God's renewed creation-temple will be Holy unto the Lord (Zech 14:20-21), a place suitable for His dwelling with His people and for their service to Him.
    I think we have to go with the symbolic view of certain parts of this because it is clear that there will not be any need for animal sacrifices again. Christ has made any further sacrifice unnecessary. In fact Paul chides both the Galatians for wanting to observe the Jewish holy days and the ceremonial law.

    And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the Lord of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them.

    Galatians 4: 8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

    Hebrews also speaks of Christ’s sacrifice being sufficient and final.

    Hebrews 9: 23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

    Hebrews 10: 8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    Arthur Pink had some wise advice for a person who wrote him with a question on verses in Revelation that I would do well to follow too.

    "I have long since turned my attention to more vital and practical concerns than puzzling my brains over the symbols of Daniel and Revelation, and only wish I had done so much earlier.--The Life of Arthur Pink by Iain H. Murray p. 223"

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at 4/14/2008 10:06 PM  

  • edit* the both should not be there

    In fact Paul chides *[both] the Galatians for wanting to observe the Jewish holy days and the ceremonial law.

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at 4/14/2008 10:14 PM  

  • I would be particularly interested to see what non-Premillennialists make of verses 16-19 of Zechariah 14.

    Who are those that are left of those nations that came against Jerusalem? In what context do the sanctions upon them occur?

    I understand these to be the survivors and descendents of Armageddon who live in the Millennial kingdom who shall be required by law to worship God.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/15/2008 3:20 AM  

  • Thank you Susan, for your thoughtful comment. I enjoy reading Halley. Pink's comment was interesting, but he never mentions Zechariah. ;~)

    Matthew, here are the verses you ask about:

    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. Zech 14:16-19

    This is an intersting question and actually ties in with the discussion we are having on the current post in regards to Acts 1:9-10 and Rev 19. If the Ammillenialist holds that Chris treturns to set up the eternal state (which maybe they don't... I am still awaiting clrification on that) then we would have these sanctions happening in the eternal state. That seems awkward, to say the least.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/15/2008 11:13 AM  

  • That should be "Christ" returns, not "Chris"

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/15/2008 11:13 AM  

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