For life to make sense, and for us to have meaningful lives, 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 worldís religious books, tells us just that. 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 is the word of the Lord concerning Israel. Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the Earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him (12:1). The focus of this revelation, like the focus of much of the prophecies of the Last Days, is our nation - the nation of Israel. This is something that directly affects us and also the world, and therefore something that we should know.
This message is coming through Zechariah, one of the last of the Jewish prophets. Zechariah's writings have been tested and found to be 100% reliable, so this word is worthy of our complete trust.
According to Zechariah, this is what the All Powerful, All Wise Creator God, the sovereign Lord over human history, is planning on doing in the Achareet HaYameem - the Last Days: I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling (12:2).
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 Lordís 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.
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. We need this pressure to bring us to the place we need to get for the salvation of our nation and the subsequent blessing of the world to be accomplished.
The Jewish people - who for centuries have been disobedient to the Lord, and broken our covenants with Him; our people, who did not recognize the day of our visitation, when the eternal Son of God humbled Himself, and left the honor and glories and powers He had in Heaven, and came to Earth and became a man; and came to His own, but the majority of His own didnít recognize Him or receive Him but tragically rejected and crucified Him; our people, who have as a result been exiled and wandering among the nations for 2,000 years, where life has been for the most part very difficult and often painful - 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 the Land 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 promised to give to us forever (in the Abrahamic covenant - see Psalm 105:8-15) - our partially regathered presence to our land and to the most important city on Earth will not be appreciated by the surrounding peoples.
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: ďWe are glad to have you back home! Barucheem haba-eem! [Blessed are they who come!]" Instead, they will react to this divinely 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, making a fool of himself.
It wonít be only Jerusalem that will be hated and attacked: Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem (12:2). 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.
The Supreme Being informs us that these 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... (12:3). The whole world will be drawn into this end-of-days conflict.
Since the tower of Babel, many human beings have longed for the reunification of divided humanity working 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.
What will little Israel be able to do against the combined forces of a united world? On our own, calling upon all of our resources, we couldnít 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 (12:2). After that has had the desired effect and drawn the united nations into the final battle, it is the Lordís 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 (12:3). No matter how hard the nations try to move us out of our God-given holy land, they will be unable to do so! And just as a man eventually hurts himself if he keeps on pushing with increasing force against a rock that canít be moved, so will any nation and any coalition of armies be hurt that tries to destroy Israel or move the Jewish people out of our God-ordained place. All who try to move it will injure themselves (12:3). 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 Lord will intervene in our most desperate moment. "On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness," declares the Lord (12:4).
He will confuse our enemies and supernaturally empower us, especially those who are in our capital city. 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, 5. "The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord of Armies is their God - their Mighty One, the Source of Power." On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. 6. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place. 7. 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. 8. On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David; - like David who fought the giant Goliath and won - and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them" (12:5-8). 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. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem (12:9).
Following the greatest victory of our people from the most desperate circumstances 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 will finally 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 (12:10).
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 (12:10). 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 already came, and that it is Yeshua of Nazareth, 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, and we will be so terribly sorry and repentant, and go into unprecedented national shiva [period of 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 (12:10).
These great events will be followed by the greatest
national cleansing and the elimination of all false religion and teaching among
all the Jewish people, and the establishment of true religion on Earth centered in a new
Temple in Jerusalem, with Israel and the nations of the world coming under
the wonderful administration of Messiah Yeshua, the Lord who will have
returned to Earth on the Mount of Olives.
Why is this passage of particular interest to us today?
For several reasons:
My brothers and sisters, we are part of this great salvation of our Jewish people in the Achareet HaYameem - the Last Days - even now! We, the small remnant of Messianic Jews, have a part in preparing the way for the culmination of this great salvation! And, so are 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 donít be discouraged that Messianic Jews are a minority within a minority, which can be difficult and unpleasant. That's 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.
Letís continue boldly and unashamedly calling our people to the truth. And, letís be willing to endure hurtful rejection, knowing that we are on the right side, truthís side, Godís side, salvationís side, and eventually we will see a good end to our efforts and the efforts of those who may follow us, and we will enjoy the rewards given by our Returning King to those who have faithfully served Him. May each one of us be found worthy to enjoy many of those rewards!