Jay Rogers
Director:
Jay Rogers

Links Recent Posts

Archives

The Forerunner

Zechariah 14 in Preterist Perspective (1 of 3)

Painting by Enrique Simonet Lombardo — Flevit super illam (1892) — “He wept over it.” Click to enlarge.

The following is based on an excerpt from my soon-to-be-published book, In the Days of These Kings: The Prophecy of Daniel in Preterist Perspective. In the book I discuss the prophecy of Zechariah as “bridge” material between Daniel and the New Testament.

Behold the day of the Lord is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city (Zechariah 14:1-2).

Nearly all Christians would agree that there is one way to God and one faith. However, many of us were so steeped in dispensationalist thinking at one point — especially in terms of eschatology — that it requires a paradigm shift to understand that the prophets saw no division between the Old and the New Covenant. Therefore, when they spoke of Israel, they spoke at the same time of the Church.

I have debated with premillennialists who will cite Zechariah 14 to claim that a great earthquake will split the Mount of Olives either at the beginning, middle or end of a future Great Tribulation. “When did that already happen in history?” is the common retort. In short, I don’t believe that the Mount of Olives will be literally split down the middle in a soon coming war over the existence of a modern geo-political Israel.

I have very intelligent friends who believe this will literally happen very soon.

Early Christians didn’t have trouble seeing this applied to AD 70.

In his Proof of the Gospel, written around AD 318, Eusebius of Caesarea held to this preterist interpretation of Zechariah 14:1,2.

The fulfilment of this also agrees with the passages quoted on the destruction of the whole Jewish race, which came upon them after the coming of Christ. For Zechariah writes this prophecy after the return from Babylon, foretelling the final siege of the people by the Romans, through which the whole Jewish race was to become subject to their enemies: he says that only the remnant of the people shall be saved, exactly describing the apostles of our Saviour (Eusebius of Caesarea, Proof of the Gospel, 2.3.50,53).

Zechariah 14:3-7 then shifts from divine retribution on Jerusalem to God’s anger toward the surrounding nations. One of the problems that dispensational thinking has introduced into the modern interpretation of Bible prophecy is the discontinuity between the Old and New Covenant – between natural Israel, the Old Covenant Church – and the spiritual Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ. In the eyes of God, He has only one people, the ecclesia, the “called out ones” of God.

In effect, Zechariah goes on to say that after physical Jerusalem was thoroughly defeated, God would fight for His people, spiritual Jerusalem.

Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. You will flee by the Valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azal; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, My God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him! In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light (Zechariah 14:3-7).

The Mount of Olives would then be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley – Here is an image of the people of God being split into two groups, the faithful remnant who will not be cut off from the city – the spiritual city of God – and those who will be taken into captivity – those who rejected God’s promise (Zechariah 14:2).

You will flee by the Valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azal – At first glance, it is easy to pass this over as an insignificant topographical remark. “Azal” is thought to be the valley now known as Wady Yasul. The Hebrew name is Nahal Atzal. The mouth of the valley lies at the base of the southernmost summit of the Mount of Olives.

There is a possible allusion to the commandment of God to His people in Zechariah 14:5 to “flee by the Valley of My mountains” in the Mount Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24.

“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

Many preterists believe that this was fulfilled when the Christians left in Jerusalem fled to the city of Pella — according to the Church historian Eusebius. They would have had to flee in the direction of the Mount of Olives. Then they eventually made it to the Jordan river and made the journey north to Pella.

In fact, Theodoret of Cyrus, writing in AD 460, believed that Zechariah 14:4, the Lord’s feet standing on Mount Olives, was specifically fulfilled by Vespasian’s troops and the 42 month long siege of Jerusalem from the spring of 67 to the fall of 70. Theodoret is here quoting from the Greek Septuagint, which has some significant differences from the Hebrew Masoretic text.

Zechariah 14:4 – On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives – which is opposite Jerusalem from the east – From where he ascended into heaven, from there he gives victory to those fighting against the Jews. He then says the mountain would be divided into four parts, one going to the east, one to the west, one to the north and one to the south.

Zechariah 14:4,5 – The Mount of Olives will be split, half of it to the east and half of it to the sea in the west, a vast expanse, and half the mountain will face the north and half of it the south, a great valley. The valley of the mountains will be blocked as far as Jassa, and will be blocked in the way it was blocked in the way it was blocked in the face of the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah – By mountain he refers to the cohort of the enemy divided for the purpose of besieging Jerusalem, some occupying its eastern part, some its western, others guarding the north, others the south (Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on Zechariah).

Zechariah 14:1-7 is primarily about the siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. There is first the natural and then the spiritual. First, God defeated His adulterous Bride, earthly Jerusalem. Then He began to war against the heathen enemies of His true Bride, the heavenly Jerusalem. The spiritual warfare that is accomplishing this is ongoing. It began in the first century and it continues to the end. The warfare spoken of in Zechariah 14:1,2 is about physical warfare and the destruction of physical Jerusalem. Then the warfare of Zechariah 14:3-7 is about spiritual warfare in which the Lord himself fights for spiritual Jerusalem, His Bride, the Church.

In the 1990s and 2000s, I took 12 short term missions trips to Ukraine and Russia spending several months out of my life helping two Christian media ministries. When I was in Russia I ran into ministries that had raised millions of dollars to get the Jews out of Russia to Israel. The goal was not to evangelize Jews. It was to get them to Israel because of biblical prophecy about the “end-times.” When I would ask them on what basis they believed that, they would say that the Old Testament spoke of the regathering of the Jews to Israel.

I tried to offer the covenantal view on the evangelism of ethnic Jews that does not necessitate an end-times scenario with a restored nation-state of Israel and a resulting war that will kill two-thirds of the Jews who will return. That wasn’t heard though. They believed they had a prophetic mandate to see the Jews return to Israel rather than evangelize the Jews who remained in Russia.

Now it’s interesting that none of the prophets of the Post Exile period, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, speak of regathering. What they do instead is to delineate between true and false Israel, true and false shepherds, a great shaking of the heavens and the earth, God’s winnowing fan, etc. The “Church” is the seed of the woman that existed from the time of righteous Abel, to the time of Abraham, Moses, the prophets and the time of Jesus until today.

It’s not that Israel was separated from the Church — but it is that the unbelieving Jews within the Old Testament church were cut off from the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16), which now includes believers from all nations.

to be continued

Your comments are welcome!

Textile Help

God's Law and SocietyGod's Law and Society (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.

Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!

Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:

1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?

Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.

Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!

Running Time: 240 minutes

Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The United States of America 2.0: The Great Reset (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!

Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification

In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.

By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).

$7.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up! (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 200 pages

A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism

Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner

The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.

Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.

Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.

$14.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?

Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!

Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)

Running Time: 145 minutes

$17.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

Share |

View CCNow Cart/Checkout
View CCNow Cart/Checkout

RSS
Subscribe to
The Forerunner

Have The Forerunner blog sent straight to your inbox!

Enter your email address:

YouTube
The Forerunner Channel on YouTube

Featured Product
If you like the articles on this website, you may also be interested in:

Featured Articles

Live Seminar!

Real Jesus
The Abortion Matrix DVD: Update

The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
continued ...


View My Stats