Zechariah 12 and 13

Now that we have looked at Isaiah 30, let’s go farther into the Bible. Remember that we are looking for passages that describe the events that surround the salvation of Israel – the return of Israel to God.

We are looking for such passages, because we know that something deadly will happen at the same time. And, we saw one part of that deadly event here:

Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that Jehovah bindeth up the hurt of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.

Isaiah 30:26

Any good scientist will tell you that this verse represents an absolute catastrophe. No, more than that – a cataclysm. A seven times increase in the brightness of the Sun would scorch the Earth and kill all life. However, the context of this verse – the salvation of Israel – should make it clear that God is NOT destroying the Earth. It doesn’t make any sense that God would save Israel, and then immediately turn planet Earth into a charred lump of rock.

This means that there must be an alternate explanation. And, it is Zechariah that comes to the rescue, offering another view of this event.

In chapters 12 and 13, Zechariah describes the return of Israel to God. And – just as in Isaiah 30 – the context is traumatic for both Israel and the rest of the world. The end result will be good, but the cost will be high.

So, let’s start with Zechariah 12.

Zechariah 12

The burden of the word of Jehovah concerning Israel. Thus saith Jehovah, who stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him:

behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall it be in the siege against Jerusalem.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it.

Zechariah 12:1-3

Physical Land, Physical Jerusalem and Physical Israel

Unfortunately, there are many foolish people who claim that every reference to Israel in the Last Days is speaking about The Church… well …I feel the need to make sure that everyone understands what this is about:

  • a physical land of Israel
  • a physical Jerusalem
  • physical Israelis.

Twisting scripture to change its meaning is a sin. If you are doing this, repent now.

So, what place is God referring to?

Jerusalem.

Is this a spiritual Jerusalem? An allegorical Jerusalem?

No. Of course not.

Only a fool would say otherwise.

Even though there are allegorical and euphemistic elements in this passage, the way that God speaks through Zechariah should tell you that this really is a physical Jerusalem. God is really talking about a PLACE called Israel and a PEOPLE called Israel.

Right?

Right.

For Those Who Disagree With God On Jerusalem

For those who disagree, please re-read what I wrote, here:

Prophecy Clock – Is It All Over within a Couple of Decades?
http://www.ezekielsfire.com/section-one/prophecy-clock-is-it-all-over-within-a-couple-of-decades/

Seriously, folks. Get a grip.

However, I do understand why some would struggle with this idea. It means that the time of the Gentiles is over – which means that it is now the time of the… the… JEWS!

…uh oh!

And for those who just can’t handle the idea that we are in The Last Days… well …see my point about ‘getting a grip’. Seriously. Self deception is a luxury that we can no longer afford.

Ezekiel’s Fire – The Solar EMP

But, let’s get back to Zechariah 12. And, our next verse is this one:

In that day, saith Jehovah, I will smite every horse with terror, and his rider with madness; and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the peoples with blindness.

Zechariah 12:4

This gives us a vital clue, showing us that God is referring to Ezekiel’s Fire. Let me explain.

What does it mean when the Lord says that He will strike every horse with blindness?

Is God saying that Israelis will start riding around on horses?

Of course not. But, people at the time of Zechariah could not have imagined any other form of transportation. Therefore, God referred to horses because that was what Zechariah – and everyone else living before the 1800s – could understand.

Imagine the confusion if God had described people riding about in wheeled boxes powered by a magical black goo that came from deep underground. So, you can understand why God would mention horses. But, let me continue to talk about God’s meaning when He uses horses as a part of these passages.

After I’m done taking you through Zechariah 12 and 13, I’ll be introducing you to the coming of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Those two chapters also speak of the salvation of Israel, and they also speak of horses and horsemen making up the army of Gog and Magog.

These CANNOT Be Horses

Is it possible that the armies of Gog and Magog will somehow be made up of HORSES?

Well, I guess that anything is possible, but it is clear to me that the army of Gog and Magog will include very few, if any, horses. But, I understand that many have been taught some pretty foolish theories about Gog and Magog, so I’ll take a moment to show you what it would mean for an army like this to use horses instead of mechanized transportation – such as personnel carriers, tanks and trucks.

No army in the world would resort to the use of horses, unless they were forced to. And, only something truly catastrophic would create such a situation. In fact, it would have to be a catastrophe that leaves most of the people of the world dead. Let me illustrate that for you.

I just googled the word horsepower. The search result claims that one horsepower is equal to 745.7 watts of electricity. Most computers require that amount of electricity, if they are powerful enough to play recent computer games. One horsepower is also the amount of effort that it takes to lift the average person (75kg.) to a height of one meter, in one second. Let’s go further.

A Honda Civic Coupe is rated at 143 horsepower, and the Honda Accord Sedan is rated at 185 horsepower. Even the lowly scooter – like the Honda Cub – is about seven horsepower.

How many horses would it take to power a main battle tank?

Well, the celebrated M1 Abrams tank requires 1500 horsepower to operate. That’s a lot of horses and should give you an idea about how little power a horse has, in comparison to our current technology.

If They Were Horses, The Situation Would Be WORSE

So, if you wish to believe that these are actual horses, then you might want to account for why Gog and Magog are using horses instead of tanks. Any scenario that would account for such a thing would also leave billions of people dead. Anything that forces Gog and Magog to use horses… well …it would turn the world into a wasteland. It would be far worse than Mad Max. At least, in the world of Mad Max, they had cars.

The point is that it would take an Earth-shattering catastrophe that is far worse than even Ezekiel’s Fire, for Gog and Magog to use actual horses. Ezekiel’s Fire is not NEARLY as bad a catastrophe as anything that would force us to use real-life, tail-swishing horses.

At a minimum, all the oil fields in the world would need to be destroyed, at the same time. You would also need to destroy our knowledge and ability to synthesize fuel from other sources – such as corn and sugarcane. Remember that even Hitler’s army and air force – during World War II – were largely powered by methanol.

In fact, I’m having trouble envisioning an event that would cause us to return to horses. So, we are forced to accept the fact that the mention of horses here is metaphorical.

Furthermore, we also know that God uses metaphors in prophecy. A quick read of the Book of Daniel would quickly demonstrate that our Lord does this routinely.

So, unless you wish to warp the interpretation of the prophetic scriptures, we really must accept that these horses that the Lord speaks of are not four-hooved beasts of burden. No, these are vehicles – cars, trucks, tanks, etc.

Why The Reference To Blindness

So, what does it mean to strike them with blindness?

Let’s think a bit about what the Lord is trying to say to us here. When you strike a horse with blindness, you don’t have to kill or destroy the horse. However, making a horse blind does keep it from doing anything useful. Let me try and move us towards a modern day interpretation of the horse.

Think of it this way. A blind horse won’t start. It won’t go anywhere on its own. Everything on the outside appears fine, except that the horse just won’t work.

You turn the ignition and nothing happens. Everything looks fine, except for the fact that the car/tank/truck won’t go.

Do we have any examples of something like this?

We do.

Electromagnetic Pulse – EMP

In the 1960s, the Soviet Union exploded a nuclear weapon at extremely high altitude. When they did this, the Soviets found that the starters of all the cars within a certain zone were burnt out. The same kind of thing happened when America detonated a nuclear bomb at high altitude over the Pacific Ocean. We call this phenomenon a nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse, or a nuclear EMP.

EMP comes in many different forms. It can be man-made, caused by a nuclear weapon detonated at high altitude. Or, it could come in the form of a massive solar flare, such as Ezekiel’s Fire:

And I will send a fire on Magog, and on them that dwell securely in the isles; and they shall know that I am Jehovah.

Ezekiel 39:6

When Ezekiel’s Fire comes, your horses – planes, trains and automobiles – will go blind. They won’t start. They won’t go anywhere. In fact, everything that runs on electricity will cease to work.

Water pumps will cease to work.

Gasoline stations won’t be able to pump gas.

Israel Will Need Help

Everything that you depend on that uses electricity will cease to operate. And, in a place like Israel where electricity is an absolutely essential component for survival… That would be catastrophic – unless Israeli power stations are shielded from such an event. And, I don’t think that they are.

If Israel is like America, she gets her power station transformers from South Korea. And, it takes MONTHS for the huge transformers used by power stations to be built and shipped, and most Israelis would die of thirst within days. Israel cannot exist without electricity, so I worry about what will happen to Israel when all the horses of Israel and Gog and Magog are struck with blindness.

Having said that, Isaiah 30 speaks of a change in Israel, one where fresh water will become readily available:

And there shall be upon every lofty mountain, and upon every high hill, brooks and streams of waters…

Isaiah 30:25

So, maybe I shouldn’t worry.

Now, some have said that a solar flare doesn’t affect electrical and electronic systems that aren’t attached to the power grid. And, I would normally agree. But, Ezekiel’s Fire isn’t a normal solar flare. This is something that we’ve never seen before – except when looking at G-class stars like our own Sun. So, if God speaks of all transportation going blind… well …you should believe it and take steps to deal with it.

Can you survive without transportation and electricity?

If you can’t, then you had better start working on an alternative. But, we aren’t done with Zechariah.

Jerusalem Fights For Her Life

Here are the next two verses of chapter 12:

And the chieftains of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in Jehovah of hosts their God.

In that day will I make the chieftains of Judah like a pan of fire among wood, and like a flaming torch among sheaves; and they shall devour all the peoples round about, on the right hand and on the left; and they of Jerusalem shall yet again dwell in their own place, even in Jerusalem.

Zechariah 12:5-6

Notice that word ‘chieftains’. The original Hebrew is alufei (plural, possessive), and the root is aluf (pronounced ah-loof). THAT is the word that Israelis use for GENERAL.

The top general in the Israeli Military is currently, Gadi Eizenkot. If I was talking about him in Hebrew, I would refer to him as Aluf Eizenkot – or, General Eizenkot. So, the generals of the Israeli military – the IDF – will take heart in the fact that Jerusalem still stands.

Why?

I suspect that the reason lies in the fact that they are being attacked and defeated everywhere else – because they are losing the war against the invaders, everywhere, except Jerusalem.

This is extremely disturbing to me, because it means that the army of Gog and Magog may have reached all the way to Jerusalem… and, it is a confirmation that a lot of Israelis are going to be killed. And, I do NOT want to see that. I do NOT want to see a siege of Jerusalem. I would prefer to see Gog and Magog destroyed in the Golan.

On the other hand, we know that the Palestinians surround most of Jerusalem today. It should be easy to foresee an uprising of the Palestinians, and an attack upon Jerusalem from the West Bank. The Palestinians have coveted Jerusalem from the very beginning, and they will destroy themselves in their attempt to capture it.

In fact, I see a ‘Palestinian Uprising’ as a possible excuse for why Gog and Magog attacks. Gog might proclaim support for the Palestinians, and attack Israel on false pretenses. Israel will be forced to fight for its life, and Jerusalem will be on its own, just like in the Six Day War.

In the Six Day War, Israel focused on Egypt and Syria, and left the defense of Jerusalem to reserve units. When the Jordanians attacked, Israel couldn’t do much to support those reserve soldiers. So, they pretty much had to fight on their own, until Syria was defeated.

I believe that we will see a recurrence of this situation. Jerusalem will be forced to fight alone, as Israel fights for its life.

And let’s not forget that quite a few people will die in the earthquakes that will be happening. But, I’m not sure that all these details actually matter, because the bottom line is…

…there truly will be destruction on a MASSIVE scale.

Physical Rescue – Judah Before Jerusalem

It makes me sick at heart to think of all who will die in this – no matter who they are. But, let’s continue on with verses seven and eight:

Jehovah also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem be not magnified above Judah. In that day shall Jehovah defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of Jehovah before them.

Zechariah 12:7-8

And, when this great army is destroyed and Israel rescued, Jerusalem will be rescued last.

But, is this rescue merely physical? Could it be a spiritual rescue?

I used to think that it was a spiritual rescue – i.e. a saving belief in Jesus Christ. But now, I’m not sure that I can say that.

Yes, it is true that Israel WILL recognize Jesus as their Lord and Savior in this chapter. But, this happens a few verses down. In verses seven and eight, I think we are talking about the saving of lives, and not souls.

Nations Opposed To Israel – Destroyed

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

Zechariah 12:9

God will exact vengeance on all those who participate in this awful attack – including those who implicitly agree to the attack, by not opposing it.

I believe that when God talks about destroying all the nations that come against Jerusalem, He is speaking of Ezekiel’s Firea flare so massive that everything electrical or electronic would cease to function. At a minimum, this means that the Middle East, North Africa, Russia and Europe will be toast. Which means that, at a minimum,…

…Close to a billion people will die.

And, civilization as we know it will be changed forever.

The only question in my mind is how much of Earth will be affected?

I worry about more than just Israel. I worry about brothers and sisters in Christ, wherever they are. I do not want ANY Christian to die when this massive solar flare hits us, and I am not sure that anyone can tell us who would be spared the effects of such a solar flare.

Let’s continue.

The Spiritual Salvation Of The Survivors

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.

In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of the Shimeites apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.

Zechariah 12:10-14

It bothers me to see God pouring out the spirit of grace and supplication upon Jerusalem.

Why would such a thing bother me?

Because I fear that the rest of Israel will have been destroyed – that the only survivors of Gog and Magog are those in and around Jerusalem. That bothers me. A LOT.

No. More than that – it horrifies me.

But, I know that God is good and will not allow any that are truly His children to die. And, I know that it would be better for someone to die, than to reject God. So, in one sense, it might be a mercy that so many Israelis might die, before they actively deny Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

But, I am truly hoping that I’ve read all this wrong, and that no Israelis need to die in what is coming – whether they are Jewish or Arab.

Why do the inhabitants of Jerusalem mourn?

They will mourn for the Messiah that they rejected and murdered almost two thousand years ago. And, they will mourn for the fact that, for all of that time, they and their ancestors rejected the Messiah – the very one that they so earnestly looked for. And, they will also know that all those that died outside of Christ, their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents – all their ancestors for two thousand years – will not be in heaven, but in Hell.

THAT is something worth mourning for. Of all the terrible things in the world, there is nothing more terrible than to know that someone that you love is not in Heaven.

They will also mourn over the knowledge that their hard and rebellious hearts meant that God needed to send so much devastation to turn them back towards Him – otherwise, God would not have done it.

But, in the end, their mourning will turn to joy, because they will have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

And THAT will be a tremendous thing.

Zechariah 13

Now, as we move into chapter 13 of Zechariah, we will see that it is a part of the same vision as chapter 12. But, God has placed something of a divider between chapter 12 and 13. And, you can see it in verse one, when God says:

In that day…

I interpret this to mean that this is not necessarily chronological, but happens during the same period of time. It might be happening after the previous part of the vision. It might not.

But, let’s get into Zechariah 13:

In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith Jehovah of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered; and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.

Zechariah 13:1-2

Again, I tremble at the fact that God is focusing on Jerusalem. Yes, He mentions ‘the land’, but it’s something of an after-thought. And, this is a foreshadowing of terrible destruction to the rest of Israel. (And yes, I truly hope that I am wrong about that.) But, that doesn’t change the joy that we will have when Israel will finally see and accept her Messiah. It will be an incredibly awesome moment in time.

Idolatry Today – In Jerusalem

Now, you might ask about these idols that are being referred to here.

When my wife and I were in Jerusalem in 2010, we had the chance to witness a new Torah scroll being installed in a local synagogue, nearby our apartment. It was remarkably like what happens with an idol in the kind of pagan temple that you find in Taiwan.

As I write this, I am in Taiwan, and we see almost exactly the same kind of procession. When the priests in a local temple in Taiwan decide that it is time for their god or goddess to go on a procession around the neighborhood, that procession looks remarkably like what happens when a new Torah scroll is installed in a synagogue.

Yes, that Torah scroll has the words of God printed on it, but that doesn’t matter. If you worship and bow down to ink and paper, it doesn’t matter if that ink and paper is formed into the words of God. It is still idolatry.

There is only one person that we should bow down and worship:

God, and God alone.

Bowing down to ink and paper is a sin, no matter what the words say.

And, there is also an idolatry of the heart. Any kind of worship that is not a worship of God is idolatry. The worship of ANYTHING that is not the truth is idolatry, and that includes Judaism.

What Is A Pagan

Judaism has rejected Christ – which means that all who participate in Judaism have also rejected Christ. And, the rejection of Christ is the definition of what it means to be a pagan. I do not care who you are or what you are, but if you do not believe that Jesus is everything that He said that He is… if you do not believe in everything that the New Testament says that Jesus is… YOU are a pagan. No exceptions.

Let me add that if you worship anything IN ADDITION to Jesus, that means that you are ALSO a pagan. Please understand that this includes the word ‘pray’. If you pray to Mary, you are a pagan. If you pray to Buddha, you are a pagan. If you pray to an ancestor or a rabbi, you are a pagan. If you pray to a saint, or any other dead person, you are a pagan.

Furthermore, since we are on the subject of idolatry, lots of things can be an idol – if you value that thing, more than God. Wife, family, children, parents, job, money, patriotism, appearance, intelligence and health… all of that… ALL can be idols – if we value any of these things more than we value God.

I guess that you might say that idolatry is a pretty common problem.

Two Thirds Of Israel Killed – Jacob’s Trouble

I am tempted to discuss the interpretation of verses three through seven. They are interesting and a bit confusing, when you think them through. I will leave that for you to consider. For us the bigger issue is in verses eight and nine:

And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith Jehovah, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part into the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, Jehovah is my God.

Zechariah 13:8-9

The fact that two thirds of Israel will be killed is horrifying.

I know that there are many who claim that this doesn’t mean that two-thirds of Israel are killed, and I understand why they say that. The thought of two thirds of Israelis dying violently is just too much to think about. That is why many claim that this is a spiritual death. (which is WORSE!)

And frankly, it’s not correct. The Hebrew word for die, in the above passage is:

gah-va

And, it is spelled:

gimmel vav ayin

And, it means:

to die, perish, or pine away (to death)

The word gava does NOT indicate a spiritual death. It’s physical.

More importantly, those who advocate the ‘spiritual death theory’ aren’t thinking this through. The people of Israel were ALREADY spiritually dead. Someone who is not spiritually alive, cannot spiritually die. So, a spiritual death is impossible. Israel is not spiritually alive today, so to spiritually kill two thirds of Israel is impossible.

No, this is a physical death, and it will be a terrible thing to see.

It’s also one of the reasons why I now understand what ‘Jacob’s Trouble’ really is. You find the reference to that, here:

Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.

 – Jeremiah 30:7

I’ll discuss Jeremiah 30, later. But, it should be clear to anyone willing to look at all of this with an open mind towards God – via the Holy Spirit – that this is talking about the time of Ezekiel’s Fire.

A Bittersweet Prophecy

Zechariah 13 ends on a bittersweet note. All the survivors of this great tragedy, in Israel, will accept Jesus a their Lord and Savior, but it will also mean a tremendous amount of terrible difficulty and suffering.

As it says in the verse, it will be a refining process, and it is clear that it will be very hard. In fact, I am sure that many will wish that they HAD died, instead of going through such a time.

Many of you have experienced moments in time when you wished that you had died, instead of survived. The time is coming in which it will be Israel’s turn. And, I hate the thought of it, but this is the will of God. So, we must accept this as necessary – and prepare for it, if we can.

 

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