“Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city” (Zechariah 14:1-2). This prophecy revolves around the Day of the Lord.
Christ prophesied that He would “gather all nations” to battle Him in Jerusalem. Then He makes what might appear to be a strange statement. One half of Jerusalem is to be taken captive. That crisis triggers a series of events that leads to the return of Jesus Christ! One half of Jerusalem being taken captive is like the first domino to fall, leading to Christ’s return and the battle against all nations in Jerusalem! It all begins and ends in Jerusalem. But what a glorious end!
Let’s take a look at the crisis to follow the capture of one half of Jerusalem.
Jews’ Possession of Jerusalem Prophesied
Israel was established as a nation in 1948. This was a powerful fulfillment of Bible prophecy. The Jews are prophesied toLOSEJerusalem and the rest of their land in the latter days. How could this happen if they weren’t first given that land from the great God? Any Bible scholar should be able to see that.
At that time, the Jews only controlled half of Jerusalem. The Arabs controlled East Jerusalem. But in 1967, war broke out between the Arabs and the Jews. The Jews were victorious and gained control of all Jerusalem.
Bible prophecy shows us that the Jews had to conquer East Jerusalem so they could then lose it as prophesied in Zechariah 14! Even the Jews’ conquering of East Jerusalem was an astounding fulfillment of Bible prophecy! The Zechariah 14:2 prophecy clearly shows that the Jews had to get control of all Jerusalem between 1948 and Christ’s Second Coming!
So the prophecy in Zechariah 14:1-2, which has not yet been fulfilled, has to happen between 1967 and the Great Tribulation. Jerusalem is going to be totally captured in the Tribulation. Many prophecies tell us that (e.g. Revelation 11:1-3).
Today the Arabs live in roughly one half of Jerusalem. They just don’t control it—yet.
When such a crisis occurs, the Jews couldn’t effectively drop bombs, especially nuclear bombs, on one half of their own city.
God gave all Jerusalem to the Jews, and because of their sins He is going to give their country over to the enemy. How many fulfilled prophecies and miracles do they have to see before they turn to God?
The Jews are looking to men—not God—to bring them peace. That reality is vividly explained in our free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.
Can you and I believe God and all of these spectacular prophecies? Christ gave all Jerusalem to the Jews so prophecy could be fulfilled. So just a little faith tells us that the prophecy about the Jews losing half of Jerusalem will also be fulfilled.
God’s prophetic Word is 100 percent reliable. His reputation is on the line. His Word never fails.
Note the big overview Zechariah gives us. There are three phases to this crisis. Zechariah starts at the Second Coming of Christ, the third phase, and works his way backward chronologically.
The verse starts with Christ conquering the European and Asian powers that are gathered together for battle. Then there is a semicolon, which means all these events in verse 2 are linked and closely associated.
The first semicolon introduces the second phase of this violent time. The city shall be taken, houses rifled and women ravished. This is when the king of the north (Europe) conquers the whole city of Jerusalem (also America and Britain), shortly after he conquers the king of the south (Daniel 11:40-41).
Then there is another semicolon. This is the first phase, when half of Jerusalem goes into captivity—suggesting some violence in the process. (This sequence of events is explained in our booklet History and Prophecy of the Middle East.) This first phase could happen at any time. The Palestinians, backed by Iran, will almost certainly do this violent deed.
So why are these three eventsso closely linked?I believe there is only one logical answer: The fall of half of Jerusalem triggers a violent and massive chain reaction that leads to Christ’s Second Coming.
“Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 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” (Zechariah 14:3-4). One half of Jerusalem being captured is connected to other events that lead directly to the spectacular return of Jesus Christ!
Jerusalem in Crisis
In Zechariah 14:2, God says, “I will gather all nations against Jerusalem.” The next statement is about the capture of half the city. So God begins to gather all nations, beginning with half of Jerusalem falling to the Arabs.That eventtriggersa series of events that lead to Christ’s battle in Jerusalem!
Christianity, Judaism and Islam all have an intense interest in Jerusalem. That city is the third-holiest site to Muslims. It is the most holy city for the Jews. So-called Christians consider it their first or second holiest city. In the end, it will bring disaster to all three religions. “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:3). Even today the United Nations is burdened down with Jerusalem. Those nations that burden themselves with that city are going to be “cut in pieces.” Instead of trusting God for a solution, they trust men.
Because of its past and future, Christ has more interest in that city than any other city on Earth. Christ died there. He and His Father are going to rule the Earth and the universe from there.
Many leaders today are asking for Jerusalem to be made into an international city. Even more leaders are discussing that subject now because of the present crises. (Request a free copy of our booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.)
Are the Jews about to invite in a peace-keeping force? Could that be their deadliest mistake of all? Again, they will be trusting men and not God.
Armies in Jerusalem
“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (Daniel 11:40). The king of the south, led by Iran, is going to push at the king of the north. (This is explained in our free booklet The King of the South.)
Will that “push” be over Jerusalem? It could involve oil, since Europe is very dependent on Middle East oil. But the clash appears to be over Jerusalem. Could the battle be over an international peace-keeping force for Jerusalem?
“He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon” (verse 41). After the king of the north (a European army) wins, the army “enters” the glorious land, Jerusalem.
The Hebrew word for “enters” indicates a peaceful entry, not a forced, military entrance. This European force apparently enters to keep peace in Jerusalem at the Jews’ request. It leads to perhaps the biggest double cross in history, detailed in Ezekiel 23.
These developments will trigger another chain of violent events. It looks like the world is about to have peace. Suddenly, in a moment, the Great Tribulation begins—the worst time of suffering ever on Earth. Judea, America and Britain all fall together (Hosea 5:5).
God’s very elect will escape all this violence. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto” (Luke 21:20-21). This army is the king of the north, or the abomination that makes desolate—not an Arab army.
Why is this European army surrounding Jerusalem? This army has just conquered the king of the south and is probably there to keep “peace” in Jerusalem—to make it an international city. But God’s people understand Bible prophecy and what is really going to occur. They recognize this as a sign to flee. So they flee to a place of safety (Revelation 12:14). They remain there during the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.
The king of the north conquering so much of the Earth greatly disturbs the Asiatic millions in Russia, China and probably Japan. Great destruction is about to lead to greater destruction.
“He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. … But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many” (Daniel 11:41, 44). Tidings out of the northeast trouble the king of the north, who then decides to attack first.
The religious head then moves to Jerusalem. “And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him” (verse 45). This move may be done for protection. But it is also probably done for religious reasons.
Nothing is going to stop the Asiatic army of 200,000,000—that’s 200 million soldiers! (Revelation 9:16). Only Russia and China could amass such a gigantic army.
God is going to dry up the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. Massive armies shall flow into the Middle East and Europe—heading toward Jerusalem.
That will make it very difficult for the European army to use nuclear power. It doesn’t make much sense to bomb yourselves.
“And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16). God will gather them into the plain of Megiddo. Armageddon means armed Megiddo.
There will only be two real military powers left at that time—the king of the north and the Russia-China axis. They will meet and prepare to clash in the plain of Megiddo, located today in northern Judah (or the nation called Israel), where there is a huge air base and a gigantic area to assemble armies.
Great military strategists will think they are making all these plans. They are wrong. The supreme military strategist behind all this is God!
This event in Megiddo leads to another chain reaction. These armies from Europe and Asia will, in fact, gather there to fight. But then they will receive the shock of their lives! They will see something that changes their entire goal in this war: Jesus Christ returning to Jerusalem. Then these two massive armies, which are about to fight each other, actually join forces and go to Jerusalem to fight Christ!
“For, behold, in those days, and in that time … I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem” (Joel 3:1). By this point, the Jews in the Middle East will have been conquered.
Why does the Prophet Joel discuss “Judah and Jerusalem”? Judah is only one tribe of Israel. Joel was also referring primarily to two other nations of Israel. That is why he included Jerusalem—a type of the powerful nations of Israel in this end time, specifically America and Britain. By the time this prophecy is fulfilled, those two formerly great nations will be in captivity!
“I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land” (verse 2). God says, “I will … gather all nations.” This is the same language used in Zechariah 14:2. It allstartedwith one half of Jerusalem being captured!
The battle involving “all nations” will take place in the valley of Jehoshaphat! This deep valley, or ravine, borders Jerusalem on the east, between the city and the Mount of Olives. Today it is more commonly known as the Kidron Valley.
Jehoshaphat means “judgment of the Eternal.” The rebellious and unrepentant nations of this world will be judged there by God for their disobedience!
The world’s armies will converge on Jerusalem to fight Jesus Christ. He will not go north to Armageddon to fight them; they will march south to engage Him!
The ensuing confrontation is called “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14). It is not the “battle of Armageddon” as many assume. That is because it will not take place at Armageddon!
Zechariah 14:12-13 graphically describe this supernatural confrontation at Jerusalem with the world’s armies. They will turn against each other in mistrust and fear as their very flesh decomposes and their eyes cease to see!
The blood will flow up to the horses’ bridles. “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs” (Revelation 14:19-20). The length of 1,600 furlongs is about 200 miles. The Valley of Jehoshaphat is going to become a river of blood, roughly 4 feet deep and 200 miles long! That is almost too much blood to even imagine. However, the Asiatic armies alone have 200 million soldiers.
This is how God will “plead with them”—in the only language they understand!
Just the mention of these prophecies ought to frighten men into repentance. But men have no idea of how hard and rebellious they are!
If you and I don’t hear His words today, we have a bloody future also. But God promises to protect us if we back and support His Work.
Men work to have peace and always get war. Only God knows the way of peace. You can always trust Him. That is the lesson all this bloody violence is going to teach mankind!
Armies have fought to gain control of Jerusalem for thousands of years. But they never rule that city for long. God has chosen Jerusalem. He did not choose London, New York City, Paris or Moscow. He chose Jerusalem.
That is the city from which Christ will soon rule the Earth. And that is the city from which the Father will rule the universewith His Family. Jerusalem is going to become the capital of the universe. No city in the universe will ever be close to it in beauty and importance!
Satan knows the future of Jerusalem. That is why he has made it the bloodiest city on Earth. He hates to even think about the fabulous future of Jerusalem. Why? Because he has no part in it!
It is time that mankind learns about Jerusalem, the majestic city God has chosen.
“And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem” (Isaiah 31:9). Christ’s fiery furnace is in Jerusalem! This is where God is going to refine His created Family.
Christ will establish His government there. Global peace will break out!
What looks so gloomy and dark in Jerusalem is almost ready to start this chain reaction. It leads to the greatest event ever to occur in the history not just of this Earth, but the greatest event ever in the history of the universe—the return of Jesus Christ! Thank God that glorious event is about to explode on this planet!