Saturday, February 17, 2018

Zechariah 14 - Part #2, allusions to the New Jerusalem

Dear in Christ,

This is the second post in this series. It would be helpful if you read the first post before reading this one.

Rivers (normally) won’t flow uphill.


While reading the following verse, please remember that Jerusalem is surrounded by hills.

Zec 14:8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
Since it’s impossible for water to flow uphill and reach the former (eastern) and hinder (western) seas, the same chapter offers a solution:
Zec 14:10 All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses.
Many Futurist scholars believe that the region around Jerusalem would be leveled and Jerusalem would be lifted up, so that “living waters” can flow out from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea (in the east) and  the Mediterranean sea (in the west).

On “Living Waters” going out from Jerusalem.

While Jer 2:13 and Jer 17:13 tell us that Jehovah was “the fountain of living waters” for Jews, the book of Revelation associates the “pure river of water of life” to the New Jerusalem:
Rev 22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
Rev 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it (New Jerusalem); and his servants shall serve him: 
Unless one can successfully prove that New Jerusalem isn’t Heavenly Jerusalem, the first century addressees of the epistle to Hebrews had already come to it.
Heb 12:22 But ye are come (“you have come” in other versions) unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,...
If the first century Hebrew believers in Christ had already come to the Heavenly Jerusalem, isn’t it obvious that the talk is not about some piece of real estate in Palestine?
Please remember that Jesus associated rivers of water of life to the hearts of those who believe him:
Joh 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly (heart) shall flow rivers of living water. (Which “scripture hath said” so? Obviously, Zec 14:8)
So, neither the living waters, nor the Heavenly Jerusalem are physical realities.

A similar passage from Isaiah.

Just like Zechariah 14, Isaiah 2 also is about the Day of the LORD (Isa 2:12; Zec 14:1)
Isa 2:2  And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 
Unlike Zechariah, Isaiah doesn’t say that the region around Jerusalem would be leveled, instead of that he says that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, almost the same thing as lifting up Jerusalem.

If these passages have to have a future, literal fulfillment, which one of the two would fulfilled?

  1. Hills in the region around Jerusalem would be leveled and Jerusalem itself would be lifted up. (Zec 14)
  2. Hills won’t be leveled, the house of the LORD would be established on the top of them, instead. (Isa 2)

So, what would go forth from Jerusalem, according to Isaiah?

Isa 2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
I think it’s reasonable to think that Jesus had this passage in mind while he uttered these words, just before his ascension:
Luk 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
Luk 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luk 24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
Luk 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
Obviously, the talk is not about things that have to come to pass in some future date as the disciples were instructed to remain in Jerusalem before receiving the Holy Spirit and then proceeding to preach the gospel all over the world.

Though Luke hasn’t reproduced the words of Isaiah exactly as they are, many scholars have recognized that he was alluding to Isa 2:3 in Luk 24:47. If this be true, then the events prophesied in Isaiah had to be fulfilled in the first century, as well.

“there shall be no more any curse”

[KJV] Zec 14:11 And men shall dwell in it (Jerusalem, which is “lifted up”), and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
[RSV] Zec 14:11 And it shall be inhabited, for there shall be no more curse; Jerusalem shall dwell in security.
[ASV] Zec 14:11 And men shall dwell therein, and there shall be no more curse; but Jerusalem shall dwell safely.
I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that this verse matches with the description of New Jerusalem in:
Rev 22:3 And there shall be no curse any more: and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be therein: and his servants shall serve him;
There could be more parallels between Zechariah 14 and Revelation 21 & 22, these are the only ones that I could notice, so far.
In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal