For life to make sense and for us to have meaningful lives – lives that will endure beyond this life – we need to know where we came from and where we are going. Starting with Genesis, the divinely inspired book of origins, and ending with the book of Revelation, the book focusing on the final things, the Special Writings of Israel alone of all the world’s religious books tell us exactly what we need to know. One of the parts of the Word of God that has much detailed information about where we are going is found in Zechariah 12-14. It begins this way: This is the word of the Lord concerning Israel. The focus of this revelation, like the focus of many of the prophecies of the Last Days, is our nation – the nation of Israel. As Messianic believers, we want to know everything that the Lord has revealed about Israel, because we are part of Israel and because the future of Israel will impact the entire world. Therefore, since the prophecies affect everyone, it’s the responsibility of all Believers – Jewish and Gentile – to know and understand them.
This message is the Word of Adonai, the Yud Hay Vav Hay, the great I Am, the Eternal God who alone has life and being inherent within Himself. But it is coming through a very special human being, Zechariah, one of the last of a very special group of human beings – the Jewish prophets. During the 4,000 years of Israel’s history, there have been only a very few select individuals to whom the Lord chose to speak in a very clear way, who would then give the Word of God to the rest of us. Zechariah, who lived around 500 BC, is one of these special human beings. He was a true prophet whose life and ministry and writings have been tested and found to be 100-percent reliable, so this word is worthy of our complete trust.
To reinforce the trustworthiness of this great prophetic message, and so that we know whose word this is and why it is reliable and why it should be believed, Zechariah adds the following information: The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the Earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him: The One Who Was, Who Is, And Who Is To Come created the vast expanses of space and the mighty sun and the beautiful silvery moon and the planets and comets and the billions of far-flung galaxies, with their trillions upon trillions of stars (and He is so infinitely wise that He knows each and every star by name!). Adonai, who stretches out the heavens, made the vast reaches of the universe and everything in them as easily as a man stretches out a small tent in which to spend the night! And in addition, the One Who Is The Source Of Existence created this specially designed planet that we live on, the 8,000-mile-in-diameter massive Earth with its 260 billion cubic miles of matter. He laid the foundation of the Earth. And the One Who Will Be Who He Will Be made the subtle, immaterial, inner part of mankind – our spirit, the non-physical part of our being. The Lord forms the spirit of man within him. The One Who Alone Has The Right To Say “I Am” is the infinitely powerful and wise Creator of everything that exists – from the vast expanses of the mind-bogglingly huge universe, to the core of the massive Earth, to the subtle and living and self-aware spirit of human beings.
Do you remember the old commercials with the slogan: “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen”? A representative from that financial firm would identify himself to someone in a crowded room, and right before he said something, everyone got suddenly quiet so they could overhear the important and valuable words that the person representing E.F. Hutton was about to say. It is smart to listen to powerful and informed people who have valuable information, especially when they speak about their plans for the future. It makes sense to listen to powerful human beings who are dispensing valuable information that benefits their listeners; and it is foolish and harmful to ignore what they have to say. It is even wiser to listen to the One who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the Earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, who has all this wisdom and power, and who is revealing to us His prophetic plans about Israel and the nations in a crucial period of history that affects the future of the world!
Here is what the All Powerful, All Wise Creator God – who is in control of every force in the universe and who is the sovereign Lord over human history – says He will do in the Achareet HaYameem – the Last Days: I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. At the end of this age – the time that immediately precedes the return of our wonderful King and Savior and Messiah to planet Earth – the Lord’s plan is not to make peace for Israel in the Middle East, but trouble and difficulty and increasing amounts of pressure that will result in the greatest war in human history. That is what is going to happen, and that is what we should expect.
Why will the Lord bring us under increasing amounts of pressure? Why will the fires of anti-Semitism burn their hottest? Why will the nations of the world turn against us and attempt to destroy us? Because the Lord hates us? No. It’s the exact opposite. We need this pressure to bring us to the place where we need to get to in order for the salvation of our nation and the subsequent blessing of the world to be accomplished. For centuries the Jewish people have been disobedient to the Lord. We have broken our covenants with Him, including the Sinai Covenant and the Messiah Covenant, the New Covenant. Our people did not recognize the day of our visitation, when the eternal Son of God humbled Himself, left the honor and glories and powers He had in Heaven, and came to Earth and became a man. He came to His own, but the majority of His own didn’t recognize Him or receive Him, but tragically rejected and crucified Him. Our people have, as a result, been exiled among the nations for 2,000 years, where life has been for the most part very difficult and often painful. Yet, in spite of our blindness and sin, we Jewish people will be graciously restored to our special Land and to our special city, Jerusalem. And, Zechariah and other prophets make it crystal clear that we will be there in the Last Days prior to the return of King Messiah. But this partial regathering of the Jewish people to our ancient land that God repeatedly promised to give to us forever as part of an everlasting, unbreakable covenant (the Abrahamic covenant – see Psalm 105:8-15) will not be appreciated by the surrounding peoples. They will not be supportive of partially regathered Israel.
The hostility that our people have been experiencing for decades from the surrounding peoples should not come as a surprise to us. We were forewarned by the Lord 2,500 years ago that they would not welcome us back home with: “We are glad to have you back home! Barucheem haba-eem – welcome back holy people to your holy land and holy city that the holy God of Israel reserved for you and for no one else! And because we fear the God of Israel and we understand His sovereign plan for your very special nation, we want to help you return and reestablish your land and cities! And may the God of Israel bless us as we bless you according to the promise in His Word”! Instead, they will react to this divinely ordained and orchestrated regathering with irrational hatred. They will be like the man who drinks too much alcohol and becomes unstable and irrational, reeling and stumbling and saying and doing crazy things and making a fool of himself.
It won’t be only our capital city of Jerusalem that will be hated and attacked by the irrational peoples who surround us: Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. The enemies who surround us will want more than a Jew-free Jerusalem to control. They will be intent on destroying the entire regathered nation in all of our cities and land. The long tried, many-times-attempted destruction of the Chosen People in the Holy Land will be their goal.
The Supreme Being, who self-exists, informs us that this Last Days, Israel-centered struggle will spread beyond the Middle East. On that day, when all the nations of the Earth are gathered against her … The irrational hatred and senseless behavior of the surrounding peoples over regathered Israel will draw the whole world into this end-of-days conflict. Since the tower of Babel, many human beings have longed for the reunification of divided humanity, for the peoples and nations of the world to unite and work together as one. Well, the unification of the fractured nations will finally take place in the Last Days, but one of the goals of this coming together will be to destroy the partially regathered Jewish nation! The gathered-together nations will attempt the final destruction of little Israel.
Right now, there are about 5.5 million Jewish people in Israel and approximately 6.6 billion people in the world. The Jewish people in Israel are less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the world’s population. For every Jewish person in Israel, there are 1,200 Gentiles in the world. If the Lord returns fairly soon, and the ratio of Jews to Gentiles stays relatively the same, our little nation will be facing what may be the biggest mismatch and the greatest odds against a nation in the history of warfare.
What will little Israel be able to do against the combined forces of a united world? On our own, depending on ourselves, our resources, our strength, our intelligence, our weapons, we couldn’t do enough to survive. But, because it is the gracious plan of the Almighty and All-Gracious God to save our nation, with His saving help we will be able to do enough!
First, He will make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. After that has had the desired effect and drawn the united nations into the final battle, it is the Lord’s predetermined plan to supernaturally strengthen and empower the Jewish nation to enable us to stand firm against the onslaught of a God-despising, Jew-hating, Bible-rejecting, truth-suppressing world. On that day, when all the nations of the Earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. The Almighty will make us like a solid rock that is rooted deep within the Earth. No matter how hard the nations try to move us out of our God-given, oath-sworn, unconditional-covenant-provided holy land, they will be unable to do so! And just as a man, if he keeps on pushing and pushing harder and harder against a rock that can’t be moved, eventually hurts himself, so will any nation, any army, any coalition of armies that tries to destroy Israel or move the Jewish people out of our Creator-willed, God-ordained place. All who try to move it will injure themselves.
Then the Lord, who prefers to save by the few, rather than by the many, so that He is glorified and not puny, weak human beings – the One who is supremely worthy of our praise and who does not want sinful creatures who are prone to pride, who have a deluded and self-destructive independent attitude toward the One who is the Source of Life and Blessing to think that they are the source of saving power – the Lord will intervene in our most desperate moment, with the united nations of the world invading us, intent on destroying us.
“On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord . The Lord will cause panic, fear, and irrational thinking to overcome our enemies, just He did with Gideon and his 300, and just as He did in the time of good King Yehoshaphat when he faced a coalition of armies. He will confuse our enemies while protecting us from any confusion, and He will supernaturally empower us, especially those who are in our capital city. He promises: I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, “The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord of Armies is their God” (their Mighty One, the Source of Power).
The people of Jerusalem, and especially the leaders, will be divinely empowered to fight and have amazing victories: On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place. Our deadly, satanically inspired, Antichrist-led enemies, vastly superior in numbers and weapons, will be destroyed; and the Jewish soldiers who fight for us will be strong and invincible, so that Jerusalem will remain unmoved. Wow! How cool is that? The leaders of Israel will be worthy of great honor for the amazing victories accomplished during this time, but so will the rest of the Jewish people! The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. And it won’t be just the people of Jerusalem and our leaders who will be supernaturally strong like Samson, but so will all of the Jewish people living in Israel, from the leaders to the weakest of the people. On that day the Lord will shield – supernaturally protect and empower – those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David – like David who fought the giant Goliath and won, like David who was one of our greatest soldiers and generals of all time; and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the Lord going before them. If the weak and feeble Jews will be as strong as David the mighty giant killer, then the royal line of David will be even more powerful – not even like mortals, but like the Malach Adonai, the very special and very powerful Angel of the Lord, and like Eloheem, the Mighty God.
The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the Earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, prophetically informs us that it is His plan to utterly defeat this united nations invasion. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem. This is His plan for the proud, arrogant, anti-Zionist, Israel-hating, anti-Semitic, God-rejecting, Messiah-resisting, Antichrist-accepting united nations of the Last Days.
We have experienced and celebrated quite a few miraculous victories in our long history. Following this greatest victory of our people from the most desperate circumstances, where the end of our nation was certain, one would think that the greatest relief, the most joy and the best celebration ever would follow. Not so. What follows this greatest of salvations is the greatest of outpourings of the Spirit, which results in the greatest of recognitions and repentances and mournings over our sins. The Lord will have saved us from physical and national destruction; now He finally, after so many prayers from so many righteous men and women over so many centuries, will save us spiritually as well. The Lord will pour out His Spirit on our nation, enabling us to come closer to Him than we ever have before as a people. And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. The result of the outpouring of the Spirit of God is our new ability to fully receive all the good and gracious things that God has done and wants to do for us. Accompanying this greatest of national outpourings of the Spirit is the recognition of the Suffering Messiah and our responsibility for His suffering. They will look on Me, the one they have pierced. In the pouring out of the Spirit, King Messiah will suddenly be recognized by His own as the source of the salvation we just experienced. We will have a supernatural revelation that the Messiah, the anointed Prophet, Priest and King already came, and it is Yeshua of Nazareth, the One whom God the Father used to stretch out the heavens, who laid the foundation of the Earth, and who formed the spirit of man within him. He is the Messiah whom we rejected, helped to crucify and have despised for 2,000 years!
The Chosen People will recognize that we made the very greatest mistake in human history, a history that includes many great mistakes, and we will be so terribly sorry and repentant to the core of our national being. We will go into a time of unprecedented national mourning, the deepest and most profound kind of national mourning. And they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. This greatest threat, followed by the greatest salvation, followed by the greatest outpouring of the Spirit, followed by the greatest recognition of saving truth and the greatest repentance, is followed by the greatest national cleansing and the elimination of all false religion and false teachings among the Jewish people, within Judaism, even within Messianic Judaism. True religion will be established on Earth, centered in a new Temple in Jerusalem. Israel and the nations of the world will come under the wonderful administration of Messiah Yeshua, the Lord who will have returned to Earth on the Mount of Olives.
Why is Zechariah 12-14 of particular interest to us today? For several reasons. Isn’t it obvious that we are living in the time that is approaching the culmination of this amazing prophecy? After 1,900 years – after having lost sovereignty over the land of Israel, with the majority having been exiled from our Land and scattered among the nations – the Jewish people are being returned to the land of our fathers by the God of Israel. Since 1948, we are once again in control of the land of Israel – just as this prophecy foretold. The reestablishment of Israel is not a chance occurrence, and anyone who believes that the rebirth of Israel is a historical accident and has no end-of-days significance is making a very foolish and dangerous mistake. The surrounding nations have an implacable hatred toward us. They want us removed from our place. Dominated by Islam, which will not allow a Jewish state to remain in the heart of the Middle East, they have launched a series of wars against us. They will not rest until Israel, to them a heavy stone, is removed from its place. That is why it is foolish to compromise with them, divide God’s special land or exchange land for a peace that can never exist.
This Middle East conflict has already drawn in the other nations of the world, and it will continue to do so more and more . In fact, in November 2007, a so-called peace conference made up of some 40 nations and hosted by the United States convened to try to bring peace to the region by pressuring Israel to divide God’s land in exchange for promises of peace. The nations of the world are uniting more and more – just as this prophecy said they would. And most of the nations of the world are already against us. As we get closer to Messiah’s return, we can expect all the nations of the world to unite against us.
The awareness that this amazing prophecy is in the process of being fulfilled confirms to us the utter reliability of the Word of God. It confirms to us that all the prophecies of the Word of God will be literally fulfilled. It tells us and the nations of the world what the will of God is about the regathered nation of Israel. God is a Zionist. There is no place for anti-Semitism or anti-Zionism among the nations of the world, especially among those identifying themselves as Christians. Pray that the Church turns from all anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Pray that this nation continues to stand by the partially regathered nation of Israel, so that we will be blessed. This prophecy lets us know that we are getting close to the end of this age. The scattering and regathering of the Jewish people to the Land that the Lord reserved for us is one of the key signs that the return of our wonderful Messiah is near. This should cause us to be focused not the things of the world, but on the things of God, and on purity and holiness and on evangelism.
One final thought that is directed to my Messianic Jewish brothers and sisters: We are part of this great salvation of our Jewish people in the Achareet HaYameem – the Last Days – even now! From just one man, faithful Abraham, God created a small but special nation of witnesses; and within that small witness nation, was the even smaller faithful remnant that the Lord used to bring truth and victory and salvation to the rest. From Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to Moses and Joshua and the judges and the prophets, to the good priests and kings, and to the valiant Maccabees and Lord Himself and His small band of disciples, including all the righteous men and women, and finally to us – we, the small remnant of Messianic Jews, have a part in preparing the way for the culmination of this great salvation! And so do the wonderful Gentile Christians who stand with us! We are the Elijahs and the John the Baptists who are in the wilderness of rejection, calling out to our people to turn to the One whom we have pierced, who alone can save us as individuals and as a nation, and fulfill us as Jews. We are loosening the hard soil of unbelief, leveling the uneven ground of Messiah-rejection to make a highway for Him to walk on. We are the prophets calling our people back to truth, to a right relationship with God, to salvation, to true Judaism, to the Jewish Messiah! This amazing prophecy lets us know that one day all of our efforts, our words, our witness, our faithfulness amid opposition, our patient endurance, will have their intended saving effect!
So don’t be discouraged that Messianic Jews are a minority within a minority – which can be difficult and unpleasant. That is the way it has been throughout the history of our people. Until the great salvation of our people in the Last Days, the faithful remnant will continue to be in the minority. Let’s continue boldly and unashamedly calling our people to the truth. And let’s be willing to endure hurtful rejection, knowing that we are on the right side, truth’s side, God’s side, salvation’s side, and eventually we will see a good end to our efforts and the efforts of those who may follow us. May each one of us be found worthy to enjoy the rewards given by our Returning King to those who have faithfully served Him!