Old Testament Prophecies

Zechariah 14- Does It Support Covenant Eschatology? #4

Our last article advanced a list of ten parallels between Zechariah 14 and the book of Revelation. The points of comparison are not minor but major elements pertaining to God’s Scheme of Redemption. In this and pursuant articles we wish to develop in some detail the significance of these parallels.

Zechariah predicted the coming of the Lord with all his saints (14:5). Pusey claimed: “Whenever the Scriptures say that the saints and angels come with Christ, it is always speaking of His Second Coming” (E. B. Pusey, Pusey on the Old Testament, The Minor Prophets, A Commentary, Baker, Vol. II. 1979)450). He is surely correct. The trouble for Pusey and all futurists however, is that Zechariah has placed that coming in direct association with the fall of Jerusalem.

In our previous article we began to document that every NT prophecy of the coming of the Lord with the saints, has a temporal statement of imminence with it, restricting to the first century generation. I want to continue with that investigation here with an examination of some texts from the gospels that predicted the coming of the Lord with the saints.

Matthew 13:39f
Jesus said he was going to come with his angels at the end of “this age” (39-40). Jesus’ “this age” can be none other than the Old Covenant Age. See Joel McDurmon’s excellent discussion of this parable, showing its first century application, in his Jesus V Jerusalem, available from this website here. Jesus was born under the Law (Galatians 4:4) in the last days (1 Peter 1:18-20) at the end of the age (Hebrews 9:26). See my book The Last Days Identified, for a full discussion of the last days.

In Matthew 13:43 Jesus said the end of the age would be when the righteous would shine like the stars. This is a quote of Daniel 12:3. Daniel 12 says that prediction of the time of the end would be fulfilled “when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered” (v. 7). Thus, the coming of Jesus “with his saints”/angels agrees with Zechariah’s placement at the fall of Jerusalem and must be understood metaphorically in harmony with its Old Covenant usage.

Matthew 16:27-28    
Jesus emphatically placed his coming with the angels within the lifetime of those standing with him when he spoke these words. Attempts to divide verse 27 from 28 fail miserably. See my Can You Believe Jesus Said This? for a complete discussion of this text.

What event within the first century generation qualifies as the coming of the Lord with his saints in judgment? Fairbairn says that no “fair and natural exposition” of these verses can render any other application than to the fall of Jerusalem. (Fairbairn, Prophecy, 445).

Matthew 24:30-31
In his prediction of the fall of Jerusalem and the associated end of the age (24:2), Jesus predicted his coming with the angels to gather together the elect. He emphatically placed this event within his generation.

Consistent with Zechariah’s prediction of the coming of the Lord with his saints at the time of Jerusalem’s judgment Jesus said he would come with his angels to gather the elect. The prediction is the same, the framework is the same.

The connection between Zechariah’s prophecy and Matthew 24 is strengthened when it is realized that Matthew 24:30 “then shall all of the tribes of the earth mourn” is taken directly from Zechariah 12:10. Zechariah predicted the time when there would be tremendous mourning in Israel. He said only a remnant (two thirds shall perish) would be saved because of the coming judgment. This would be the time when the fountain for sin would be opened and the descendant of David would sit on the throne (Zechariah 12-13).

The fountain for sin in chapter Zechariah 13 cannot be a different from the living waters of 14:8 and that living water would be offered “in that day”; the day of the Lord’s coming against Jerusalem. Thus, the coming of the Lord with his holy ones in Zechariah 14 is directly the source for the Lord’s prediction of his coming against Jerusalem with his angels in Matthew 24.

Matthew 25:31
France says this passage is a “clear allusion to Zechariah 14:5” (R. T. France, Jesus and the Old Testament, (Baker, 1982)158). While we personally believe that Joel 2-3 serves as the dominant source for this text, nonetheless Zechariah and Joel certainly predicted the same time frame and events.

Joel also predicted the coming of the Lord with his “mighty ones” (3:11). Therefore Matthew 25 is probably a conflation of the two texts. If this is true, and there can be no serious doubt that it is, we are once again forced to place the passage within the framework of the fall of Jerusalem.

What should not be missed is the direct parallel between Matthew 25:31f and Matthew 16:27-28. (Again, see my book Can You Believe Jesus Said This? for an exposition of these verses and full discussion of the attempts to avoid their power. Jesus definitely said his parousia was to be in the first century). When one looks at these connections impartially, it is abundantly, and irrefutably clear that Matthew 25:31 is not a prediction of any “end of time” event.

For a revealing and convincing examination of those parallels see my charts in my We Shall Meet Him In The Air, the Wedding of the King of kings. You will be amazed at how powerful the connections really are!

Matthew 25 says not one thing different from chapter 16 (and chapter 24). Yet traditionally, at least in the amillennial school, Matthew 16:27-28 is divided between verses 27-28 and Matthew 24:29-31 is applied to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. This mixed bag of interpretations when the identical language and thought is involved is at the least cause for caution. Consistency of language, consistency of thought, and consistency of time references demand identical subject.

And if Zechariah 14 is admitted to be the source of Matthew 25 then its application to the judgment at the end of the Old Covenant Aeon is established.

More coming!

 

Don K. Preston D. Div.

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