14 December 2012Zechariah 14:1-9
"See, a day is coming for the Lord" (v. 1)
Ouch! That is certainly a valid response to today's passages. The words written and the ideas expressed can make you wince.
If you are struggling to begin to understand the passage, then you are not alone. This chapter has troubled writers and theologians down the years. Even Martin Luther said, "In this chapter, I surrender, for I am not certain of what the prophet treats."
One way to approach apocalyptic writings such as this is to let its images become a set of moving pictures in your mind, however disturbing they might be. You can then get a sense of the broad sweep of the passage, instead of the minutae of details.
Looking at the passage in this way, everything is portrayed in grand terms, being larger than life.
The Mount of Olives is one of three peaks of a mountain ridge just to the east of Jerusalem, with a view over the city. (It was on this ridge that Jesus talked about the end times in Matthew 24.) Yet, according to Zechariah, this will be split in two (verse 4). To accompany that there will be no cold or frost, and no darkness either (verses 6-7).
And there's more - living water will flow out from Jerusalem both to the east and to the west, which will continue throughout the year. Ezekiel writes about this water in chapter 47, showing both its size and its living giving qualities.
And then the Lord will be king over the whole earth.
- What are the small things of your faith, that trouble you?
- How might you be able to focus on the greater things that can ground your faith?
- What does it mean for you that "the Lord will become king over all the earth" (v. 9)?