Questions about fasting arise in chapters 7 and 8. Fasting on the Day of Atonement was the only required fast, but the Jews fasted to remember fallen Jerusalem. Why fast if the city will be destroyed? Zechariah uses this to teach them the true meaning of fasting, and to promise the restoration of the city in peace and joy.

In chapters 9--14 there are two enlightenments given to the people. First, the prophet describes the quest of the great general, Alexander the Great. History tells us that he destroyed many cities, but not Jerusalem. He threatened the city, but never carried out any of his threats. Before Alexander arrived, the Jewish high priest had a dream which he felt was of God, and in the dream he was told to dress in his robes and meet Alexander outside the city. With him went the priests in their white robes. When Alexander saw the scene, he was dazzled. In fact, he claimed that he, too, had dreamed of this very scene. Alexander entered Jerusalem peacefully and never harmed the people or the city in any way. Perhaps Zechariah saw in Alexander's visit a small vision of the coming of Jesus Christ to the Holy City, for in chapter 9:9 he predicts Christ's arrival in Jerusalem. This was fulfilled, of course, on Psalm Monday when Jesus rode into the city. Alexander came for war; Jesus came with peace. How did they treat Christ? Even though He came in peace, He would be rejected, and Zechariah 13:7 tells us that He would be arrested and smitten, which is fulfilled in Matthew 26:31. He would be sold for the price of a slave (Zechariah 11:12) and this is fulfilled in Matthew 27:3-10. The result was that He was wounded in the house of His friends (Zechariah 13:6), and pierced on the cross (Zechariah 12:10). What a tragedy that Jerusalem, whose name means "the city of peace," would reject the Prince of Peace, and crucify Him.

Chapters 12--14 contain prophecies concerning Israel's future. The last three and one-half years of the Tribulation Period will find only one-third of the nation surviving to enter the Kingdom (chapter 13:8,9). Note the repetition of "in that day," referring to the Day of the Lord. It occurs some 13 times in today's reading.

In chapters 12:1-8 and 14:1,2, we see all the Gentile nations gathered together against Jerusalem. The Antichrist has moved into Jerusalem, broken his covenant with the Jews, and made the Temple his headquarters for worldwide worship (see II Thessalonians 2; Revelation 13). During the last half of the Tribulation Period the kings of the earth will begin to assemble for the great final battle--the Battle of Armageddon (see Revelation 16:12-16; 19:19- 21). We might also note in Zechariah 14:1,2 that Jerusalem does suffer terribly in this battle before the Lord returns to deliver her. When the battle is at its worst, Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives (chapter 14:4). This will fulfill the promise of Acts 1:11,12. The glory had departed from Mount Olivet (Ezekiel 11:22,23). An earthquake will change the entire area (see Micah 1:4; Nahum 1:5 and Revelation 16:18,19). This change will undoubtedly make possible the new landscape required in Ezekiel's magnificent Temple (see Ezekiel 40--48), since the present arrangement would make so large a structure impossible. The newly-formed valley will also make a way of escape for the people in Jerusalem, but the final victory will be Christ's (Revelation 19:11,12). Finally, the nation will look upon the pierced One (chapter 12:10; John 19:37; Revelation 1:7), and will repent of her sins and mourn. God will cleanse them of their sins. Note the specific groups of people who will repent (chapter 12:12-14)--David, which means royalty; Nahum, the prophets; and Levi, the priests. The glorious Temple will be established by Jesus Christ, and He shall reign as King-Priest in majesty and peace. Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited (chapter 14:11) for the first time in history. The glorious living waters will flow out to heal the land (chapter 14:8; Ezekiel 47:1). Gentile nations will worship at Jerusalem (chapter 14:6), and holiness will characterize the city that Haggai called filthy. The cleansing mentioned in Zechariah 3 will be a reality, and there will be peace in the world. When Jerusalem has peace, there will be peace among all nations.

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