Many Christian commentators see no correlation between Zechariah 14 and the resurrection. Allison has shown however, that early Jewish commentators did make such a connection.
If Zechariah 14 predicted the resurrection then since this great chapter unequivocally speaks of the A. D. 70 coming of the Lord, verses 1-5, this constitutes a prima facia argument for the resurrection at the end of the Old Covenant World of Israel and not at the end of time.
Establishing the Connection
Zechariah 14 does speak of the time of the resurrection. This can be shown by demonstrating that the elements found in Zechariah are associated in other passages with resurrection.
Ressurection and the River of Life
In verse 8 Zechariah predicted that at the coming of the Lord with his saints, vs. 5, a fountain of living waters would flow from Jerusalem. This river of life is most assuredly associated with resurrection life.
In Ezekiel 47 the prophet foretold the same river of life flowing from the Temple/Jerusalem. That river would flow eastward from Jerusalem — compare how in Zechariah 14 the River also flows eastward. Everywhere that river would flow it would bring life to that which was dead, Ezekiel 47:1-12.
In Revelation 20-22 John depicts the resurrection, chapter 20, followed by the New Jerusalem from which the River of Life flows, 22:1-3. The river of life is in the New Jerusalem after the destruction of Old "Babylon," the city where the Lord was crucified, Revelation 11:8. Zechariah places the river of life in Jerusalem after the Old Jerusalem is besieged, Zechariah 14:1-2.
The river of life and the resurrection are inextricably linked. Since Zechariah 14 predicted the opening of the river of life then Zechariah 14 predicted the resurrection.
Zechariah 14 and "The Curse"
After the coming of the Lord in judgment Zechariah says "there shall be no more curse, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely" Zechariah 14:11. The elimination of the "curse" is a concept directly associated with resurrection.
The "curse" actually goes back to the Garden of Eden of course and God’s promise concerning the forbidden fruit "in the day you eat thereof, you shall surely die" Genesis 2:15-17. They ate and they died. God promised that one day the seed of woman would crush Satan and thus remove that curse, Genesis 3:15. The destruction of the Curse is the object of the New Heaven and Earth where "the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying" Isaiah 65:19. Paul said that victory was at hand, Romans 16:20.
In Isaiah 24 the prophet spoke of a coming destruction of "heaven and earth" because Israel had "broken the everlasting covenant." As a direct result of the violation of her covenant Isaiah said "the curse has devoured the earth" Isaiah 24:6. The "city of confusion" (Jerusalem) would be destroyed but Jehovah would reign gloriously "on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem" Isaiah 24:23.
In chapter 25 the Lord promised that at the time of His coming in judgment against the wicked — when the city of confusion would be destroyed — He would "make for all the people a feast of choice pieces a feast of wines on the lees…and He will destroy on this mountain (Zion, DKP) the surface of the covering cast over all people and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever" Isaiah 25:6-8. God would take away the curse when He destroyed death.
Please keep in mind that Isaiah depicts the destruction of one Jerusalem — the city of confusion — but he also depicts life and victory in Jerusalem. One city is under the curse; the other is freed from that curse. Freedom from that curse would be when God swallowed up death. This is the promise of the resurrection because in 1 Corinthians 15:54-56 Paul quotes Isaiah 25:8 in his prediction of the resurrection. Thus deliverance from "the curse" equaled deliverance from death, i.e. resurrection.
Like Isaiah, Zechariah predicted the destruction of one Jerusalem but he also predicted that Jerusalem would be the center of worship and "there shall be no more curse" Zechariah 14:11, in this New Jerusalem. Since deliverance from the "curse" represented resurrection then Zechariah 14 clearly predicted the resurrection. This is corroborated in Revelation.
In the Apocalypse John predicted the destruction of Old Jerusalem, the city guilty of shedding all the blood on the earth, Revelation 18:20-24, compare Matthew 23:29-36. Following this judgment scene the New Jerusalem descends from God out of heaven, Revelation 21:1-3. In chapter 22:3 John says that in this New Jerusalem "there shall be no more curse" a direct quote from Zechariah 14:11.
John depicts the time when the curse would be destroyed as "resurrection" time. His prophecy of that wonderful time is a quote from Zechariah 14:11. Therefore Zechariah 14:11 predicted the time of the resurrection.
Feast of Tabernacles and Resurrection
The Feast of Booths was called the most joyous of all Jewish feasts. It memorialized the time of deliverance from bondage when Israel dwelt in tents and booths as they journeyed to their promised land. It celebrated the past of bondage and wandering, and the joy of present deliverance.
The Feast of Booths was also the feast that celebrated the harvest. Passover was the time of the firstfruits of the barley; Pentecost was the time of the firstfruits of the wheat. Succoth celebrated the full harvest.
Fairbairn says the feast of booths typified the time when all of God’s enemies would be finally defeated and the nations would celebrate salvation in the kingdom. In other words, the Feast of Booths foreshadowed the time of the resurrection when man had been fully delivered from sin and its consequences.
Fairbairn was a millennialist and held that Zechariah is yet future. This violates John’s insistence that his vision, including Zechariah’s prophecy, was about to be fulfilled, Revelation 22:6, 10, 12, 20; but Fairbairn’s typological application was valid.
Edersheim concurred with Fairbairn about the typological significance of the Feast of Tabernacles. He said the Feast signified the time when "in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all the people a feast of fat things…And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering spread over all the nations. He will swallow up death in victory." Undeniably then the typological significance of the Feast of Tabernacles has been associated with the resurrection by the Jews and Christian scholars.
Twice in Zechariah 14 the writer speaks of worshippers, including the Gentiles, coming to Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Tabernacles after the coming of the Lord in judgment at the time of the fall of Jerusalem, verses 1-5.
The Messianic import of the Feast of Tabernacles was resurrection life. Zechariah 14 speaks at length of the Feast of Tabernacles being celebrated after the coming of the Lord in A.D. 70. We must therefore understand this to be an illusion to the celebration of resurrection life. This directly associates resurrection life with the A.D. 70 coming of the Lord.
Daniel 12, Zechariah 14 and Resurrection
Daniel foresaw a time of unparalleled tribulation coming on his people in the time of the end, Daniel 12:1, 4. In this "time of the end" however, "many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall come forth" verse 2. Here is the resurrection.
Zechariah predicted the same time of trouble when "the city shall be besieged and taken" Zechariah 14:1-2. God’s sword would be against Israel and "two thirds in it (Israel, DKP
) shall be cut off and die" Zechariah 13:8. "In that day" of trouble the fountain of living waters would be opened, Zechariah 14:8. Thus, both Daniel and Zechariah spoke of the time of tribulation and resurrection.
Daniel, when hearing of the time of trouble and resurrection, heard one angel ask another when "all of these things shall be fulfilled" Daniel 12:6. The answer was "when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered all of these things shall be fulfilled" Daniel 12:7. This can be no other time than the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Zechariah 14 predicted the identical time.
Daniel 12 and Zechariah 14 both speak of the time of Israel’s judgment. Daniel speaks of those in "the dust of the earth" coming forth; Zechariah speaks of the river of life being opened. Zechariah 14 plainly speaks of the resurrection.
We believe that what has been presented is sufficient to prove that Zechariah 14 did predict the time of the resurrection.
What is so important to see is that scripture presents these resurrection themes in direct association with the Lord’s coming in the judgment of Israel. Isaiah 24-25 are set within the context of the fall of the "city of confusion."
The River of Life is set within the context of the "last days" consummating in the Day of the Lord against Israel, Joel 2-3/ Matthew 24:29-34. Daniel 12 places the resurrection at the time "when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered" Daniel 12:7. The context therefore for resurrection is the judgment of Israel. This is the context of Zechariah 14.
Further, that Zechariah 14 predicted the A.D. 70 cataclysm is widely admitted among amillennial and postmillennial writers. Why then has the connection between the fall of Jerusalem and the resurrection been ignored or denied?
One can only speculate but the power of preconceived ideas about the nature of the resurrection is very powerful. Like the Jews of old who rejected the kingdom of the Messiah because they anticipated a materialistic restoration of Israel, most believers today cannot or will not see that inspiration unequivocally places the resurrection at the time of Israel’s judgment.
My next article will establish the final link between Zechariah 14 and the resurrection showing that Zechariah 14:9 is vitally tied to 1 Corinthians 15.