Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2002 James Melough
“Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the
midst of thee.”
The correct translation of this verse is “a,” not “the
day of the Lord.” On a day near the end of the Great Tribulation known only
to God, Israel will be invaded and plundered.
“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city
shall be taken, and the houses rifled (plundered), and the women ravished
(raped); and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue
of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”
This is generally understood to be the gathering of
the nations for the campaign of Armageddon, but some understand the “all
nations” whom the Lord will here gather against Jerusalem, to be those close
to Palestine rather than all the nations of the world, the armies of many of
those other nations having been already destroyed in the Armageddon conflict.
The invaders will be completely victorious, carrying away captive half of the
population of the city, and also everything of value.
“Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he
fought in the day of battle.”
The interval between the victory of the invaders
and the Lord’s going forth to fight against them, isn’t disclosed, but it
seems that it will be brief.
“... as when he fought in the day of battle” is a
day that isn’t further identified, but it may perhaps be that earlier one in
which He will have destroyed the armies assembled in the valley of Megiddo at
the climax of the campaign of Armageddon.
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is
before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the
midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very
great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half
of it toward the south.”
As frequently in Hebrew writing, the narrative is
interrupted here to describe an event that has occurred earlier, i.e., the
return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and glory, for clearly some of the
preceding events were consequent to His second advent.
It was from the Mount of Olives that He ascended to
heaven two thousand years ago, see Ac 1:9-12, and it is to that same spot that
He will come at His second advent as foretold here.
At the instant of His descent to the mount of
Olives the mount will be cleft in two, thus forming a great valley running
from east to west, and pushing half of the mount northward, and the other half
“And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the
mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from
before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God
shall come, and all the saints
The NEB translation of this verse reads, “The
valley between the hills shall be blocked, for the new valley between them
will reach as far as Azal....” Another translation, Taylor’s, reads, “You
will escape through that valley, for it will reach across to the city
It will be through this valley that the besieged
inhabitants of Jerusalem will be able to escape.
“... and all the saints with thee” is a peculiar
expression, for it seems that the “thee” should be “Him,” but it is taken by
many to mean that He and the resurrected saints who will accompany Him, will
have come to be with the Israelites just delivered by His return.
Nothing is known of Azal, nor does its meaning
proximity: he has reserved furnish any clue. Likewise, no details are
known of the earthquake of Uzziah’s day.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor
The translation of this verse which makes most
sense is that which renders it, “It shall not be clear in some places, and
dark in other places of the world,” i.e., it will be daylight all over the
world. This seems to be in perfect harmony with the coming of Him Who is the
Light of the world, John 8:12.
“But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night:
but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.”
This verse seems to confirm the accuracy of the
“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 it shall be.”
On that day a river of pure fresh spring water will
flow from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, and also to the Mediterranean, its flow
being as full in summer as in winter, for as a spring it will be independent
of fluctuations in rainfall.
“And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one
Lord, and his name one.”
Unlike earth’s past history, when for the most part
every man has done what is right in his own eyes, to the dishonor of God and
the misery of man, there will be no such opportunity for the operation of
evil. The Lord’s millennial reign will be one of righteousness in which overt
rebellion will be visited with death, hence the bliss of that era which will
bring earth’s turbulent history to a glorious peaceful close. As the seventh
millennium from Adam it will be, in fact, the equivalent of the Jewish Sabbath
which is itself a type of God’s great Sabbath which will last for a thousand
years, for “... one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand
years as one day,” 2 Pe 3:8.
No more will there be other “gods.” As for His
name being “one,” the truth being emphasized is that as the numeral one
is that from which all others are derived, so the one God of heaven and earth
is the One by Whom, and for Whom all things have been created.
“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.”
Geba, meaning elevation; and Rimmon
pomegranate, were the northern and southern border points respectively of
Judah’s territory which has always been largely mountainous, but in the
Millennium it will be a great fertile plain from just south of Jerusalem,
which will continue to occupy the hilltop position appropriate to its glory as
the city of God, and capital of the millennial earth.
It is Jerusalem that “shall be lifted up, and
inhabited in her place,” meaning that in the Millennium she will be exalted to
the pinnacle of earthly glory as the governmental center of the whole earth,
and will be filled with people dwelling there in peace, security, and
It seems that the places mentioned may have a
significance beyond their marking some of the physical perimeters of the city,
for obviously they are otherwise redundant. Benjamin means son of the
right hand, and surely it isn’t difficult to see in this gate of the city
of peace a symbolic reference to the true Son of the right hand as the “gate,”
He Himself declaring, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” John 14:6.
The “first gate” scarcely needs comment. He is not
only the first, but also the last, the eternally existing One, the One by Whom
all things exist, as it written, “And he is before all things, and by him all
things consist,” Col 1:17.
The “corner gate” reminds us that He is not only
“the way,” but also the “chief corner stone” and “the head stone of the
corner,” 1 Pe 2:6-7, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect,
precious .... the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the
head of corner.”
“... the tower of Hananeel, meaning the grace of
God, speaks of Him Who is the personification of God’s grace, and Who is
the “strong tower,” in which every believer finds eternal security.
“... the king’s winepresses” point to the fulness
of joy that is to be found only in the Lord Jesus Christ, for wine is the
biblical symbol of joy, and the plural emphasizes the abundance of that joy,
as it is written, “... in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand
there are pleasures for ever more,” Ps 16:11. It is by His death that
Christ has fitted us for God’s presence.
“And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but
Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.”
In the Millennium Jerusalem will be all that is
implied in the meaning of her name: dual peace shall be taught: lay (set)
ye double peace. She will be the center of a world in which men will be
at peace with God and with one another.
“And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people
that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they
stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes; and
their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.”
Verses 12-15 are generally understood to be a
continuation of what is written in verse 2.
This may certainly be the description of a unique
plague sent by God, but there is also the possibility that the reference may
be to the effects of atomic radiation, for similar results followed the
dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
“And it shall come to pass in that day that a great tumult from the Lord shall
be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbor,
and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor.”
Those referred to here are almost certainly those
who will be besieging Jerusalem just prior to the Lord’s second advent.
“Tumult” is also translated terror: confusion: panic, but no details of
the cause are given, other than that it will be the result of some special
activity of God which will spread such terror and confusion amongst the
besiegers that they will confuse friend with foe, and will slay one another.
“And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen
round about shall be gathered together, gold and silver, and apparel, in great
It is unclear whether these Judahites will be those
within the city defending it, or those from the countryside, endued with
special power from God, come to attack the enemy, see chapter 12:6-8. The
result, however, will be victory for God’s people, and destruction for the
enemy whose possessions will become the spoil of the victors.
“And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of
the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.”
The plague here is the same as that described in
“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations
which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the
King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.”
Christ’s judgment of Israel and of the nations is
passed over in silence, the prophet being instructed to write instead
concerning one aspect of worship in the Millennium. This residue of the
nations (and of Israel) will be those who will have become believers during
the Tribulation era, and who will therefore have come into the millennial
kingdom, all unbelievers, Jews and Gentiles, having been banished into hell
following Christ’s judgment of the nations.
That this keeping of the feast of tabernacles
(booths) will be mandated, is made clear by the fact that a penalty will be
imposed for disobedience. It is to be remembered that at the beginning of the
Millennium there will be only believers on the earth, all unbelievers having
been banished as noted above. But it is to be remembered also that the
children born during the Millennium will be the same as those born in other
eras: they will be sinners requiring a new birth to fit them for the eternal
state that will follow the Millennium. That first saved millennial world
population will therefore almost immediately become a mixed company, as
children are born to them. Many of those children will become believers at or
after reaching years of discernment, but some of them, as in all other ages,
will remain unbelievers, and therefore enemies of God and His people. As long
as their sin remains covert they will be allowed to live; but when it becomes
overt they will die, for no rebellion will be tolerated during that glorious
age, its blessedness being due to the iron rule of the once despised Jesus,
then reigning as the mighty Lion of Judah.
The feast of tabernacles was a time of thanksgiving
and rejoicing after the year’s work was done and the harvest all gathered in;
and so will it be in the Millennium. Believers will be happy to keep that
feast, but unbelievers will have no more desire then than ever to celebrate
God’s goodness. Some undoubtedly will go through the ritual in order to avoid
the penalty for disobedience; but others will disobey, and incur the penalty
described in the following verses. (A word of explanation may be necessary
here: it seems that while overt sin, i.e., an active doing of wrong
such as committing theft, adultery, murder, etc., will bring death, passive
sin such as wrong thoughts, failure to actively do good, etc., will incur a
lesser penalty such as is described in the next verse).
“And it shall be that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth
unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be
Patently, it would be impossible for every
individual to assemble in Jerusalem: the city couldn’t hold them; so it seems
that perhaps the feast will be kept all over the earth, with only group
representatives actually going to Jerusalem.
The punishment for failure to keep the feast will
be lack of rain.
“And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there
shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not
up to keep the feast of tabernacles.”
“This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that
come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.”
Obviously some things won’t change in the
Millennium, for Egypt, which has no rain now, will still have none then, the
Nile apparently continuing to be its source of water.
The mention of “the plague” upon the nations
refusing to keep the feast, seems to imply that there will be degrees of
punishment: first, lack of rain; and for continued rebellion, the plague.
“In that day there shall be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE
LORD; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the
“... in that day” continues to refer to the
Millennium, the holiness of Jerusalem in that age being such that it will
invest virtually everything in it with the same character, holiness being used
here in the sense of being dedicated to the service of God. The horses and
the relatively worthless washpots will be thus sanctified no less than the
sacred altar bowls.
“Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of
hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe
therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of
the Lord of hosts.”
The holiness that will then be associated with
Jerusalem will extend to the whole territory of Judah; and such will be the
volume of worship that the participants will have to use even the common wash
pots for the boiling of their sacrifices.
For the first time in Israel’s long history there
will be fulfilled what the Lord said to Moses in Ex 19:3-6, “Thus shalt thou
say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel ... Now therefore
if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a
peculiar treasure unto me above all people ... and ye shall be unto me a
kingdom of priests, and an holy nation....”
Canaanite, meaning a trafficker, has an evil
connotation. Throughout Israel’s history there have been swarms of spiritual
Canaanites (mere traffickers) involved in the religious activity of the
nation. Nor is Christendom any different. She too has her hordes of
Canaanite clerics and priests whose mercenary character has made true
Christianity anathema in the eyes of the world.
In the Millennium there will be no “Canaanites.”
Those who will minister in holy things will be they whom God Himself equips