(Questions and Answers)
Ask Torah Teacher Ariel
(Note: all quotations are taken from the Complete Jewish Bible, translation by David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., unless otherwise noted)
I am wondering about Zechariah's comment about Israel, Chapters 12-14. Do these chapters show Israel just prior to the Messiah's return? It does not appear to fit any historical siege of Jerusalem in light of the fulfillment described in ch. 14? Am I watching this development take place now even though they are seeking peace?
Bible prophecy can be a very tricky subject. Learning how to recognize present events fulfilled, in light of their past predictions is a blessing from above. And yet some passages seem to remain so obscure, despite our best efforts to understand them. In the TaNaKH, truth often was hidden from the learned to accomplish the purposes of HaShem. Our assurance is that He would reveal them to His Body in His own time and according to His good pleasure (see Ephesians chapter 2, and Hebrews 1:1-3). Zechariahs prophecy in chapter 12 is a good example of what is known in prophecy circles as "near/far" applications. This means that the event foretold about may have more than one historical application. Careful examination of the text reveals repeated use of the phrases, "in that day", "at that day", and/or "behold, the day cometh" (KJV). These phrases most often refer to the time period known as the "Great Tribulation". Often the Bible calls this time period the "Day of the LORD". At other times, they seem to indicate the Millennium, depending on the context. In Hebrew thought, we refer to this time period as the olam haba. Actually, the rabbis taught that the "tribulation" would usher in the olam haba. So the phrases actually encompassed both events. But the prophets of old recorded exactly what HaShem told them to; sometimes possibly unaware that the events applied to two time periods that sort of "mirrored" each other. The exact details of each event did not necessarily have to mimic each other in every detail. Yet, the single prophecy could apply to both. Zechariahs prophecy most likely involves Yisrael just prior to the Day of the LORD, where Yeshua rescues them from the hands of "certain destruction". It also may have applied to an earlier campaign which is now ancient history. The most exciting detail of the prophecy of chapters 12-14, in my opinion, is the promise from HaShem in 12:10. Surely this involves the corporate salvation of the Jewish nation once and for all!
Torah Teacher Ariel ben-Lyman HaNaviy