In part one of this mini-series, I asked the question when will Jesus stand on the Mount of Olives to provide a means of escape for those besieged in Jerusalem? Let’s read our core passage Zech 14:1-5 again [NET2] A day of the LORD is about to come when your possessions will be divided as plunder in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to wage war; the city will be taken, its houses plundered, and the women raped. Then half of the city will go into exile, but the remainder of the people will not be taken away. 3 Then the LORD will go to battle and fight against those nations, just as he fought battles in ancient days. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which lies to the east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, leaving a great valley. Half the mountain will move northward and the other half southward. 5 Then you will escape through my mountain valley, for the valley of the mountains will extend to Azal. Indeed, you will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come with all his holy ones with him.
This passage clearly describes an end time future event. Yet there are some very notable elements described by Zechariah which are not explicitly mentioned by either Jesus or the New Testament writers. Not least the Lord will stand on the Mount of Olives which will split in half to provide a means of escape for those besieged in Jerusalem. This lack of reference poses a problem for the Bible student in understanding when this event will take place. Certainly if one takes the view that Jesus returns only once, and therefore the Matthew 24 account of Jesus returning as the Son of Man on the clouds to gather His Elect, if this return is also seen as the same event as in Revelation 19 when Jesus returns out of heaven this time on a white horse, not as the Son of Man, but as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, then there’s a real conundrum here. If indeed there is just one return, then we must also squeeze Zechariah’s prophecy in chapter 14 into the same time, but herein lies the problem: because Revelation 19 quite clearly teaches that the Beast, False Prophet and armies coming against the Lord will meet a rather gruesome end and be totally annihilated, whereas in Zechariah 14 it is about flight and escape of those in Jerusalem from her oppressors. Here’s how the battle is described in Rev 19:17-21 NKJV – 17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 “that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all [people], free and slave, both small and great.” 19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. Does that sound like the same event described by Zechariah? How would it be possible for the armies in Zechariah 14 to continue to hold Jerusalem under siege if they are about to be annihilated as Revelation 19 describes? The Zechariah 14 event is about escape, but the Lord’s return in Revelation 19 is about vanquish. In my opinion it simply is not possible to reconcile what Zechariah prophesied in chapter 14 with the battle of Armageddon described in Revelation 19. But it is not only the difference in the battles described that separate these two events from each other. For example, since in Revelation 19 Jesus is returning with His Bride, how is it that Israel is still upon the earth and in need of a deliverer as in Zechariah 14? If Israel were saved at this point, she would not need a horizontal means of escape out of Jerusalem, because she would receive a vertical gathering up to meet the Lord coming on the clouds. Interesting. Does that mean she missed the wedding of the Lamb? I don’t think so, this can never be, since the Wife who has made herself ready is inclusive of Israel. The wedding contract is made with her. Only by virtue of being grafted into the Olive Tree is the Gentile church able to participate in the covenant blessings and promises made to Israel. This is our position at Call2Come: we have prioritised the Bride as the central thread, the foundational piece in which there is no negotiation. There is one Bride and one wedding. And since when Jesus returns to judge and make war in Rev 19, He will be accompanied by His Bride, it necessitates an earlier occasion in which Israel will be saved, and for her salvation Jesus will come again as the Son of Man. That means Jesus upon the earth before Revelation 19, in other words, when Jesus returns as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords Rev 19:16, it will not be the first time that He would have returned. Zechariah’s prophecy helps us to clearly identify an earlier time of Jesus upon the earth. Now this eschatological viewpoint simply isn’t possible when holding to a one return of Jesus position, which leaves us with a choice: We either leave Israel out of the picture, and consider her grafted into the Bride later, during the Millennium once Jesus has returned, or we put things in order, accept the marriage covenant is made with Israel, accept that it is the gentiles who are grafted into her, and accept that when Rev 19:7 says ‘the wife has made herself ready’ that it means Israel. So that still leaves us with the question: When will Jesus stand on the Mount of Olives? When will the Second Exodus begin?