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END-TIMES PROPHECIES IN ZECHARIAH

PART 2

by Steve Ashburn

 

In Part 1 of this series we saw how Zechariah provided a prophetic overview of the history of Israel, including the betrayal of Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, the rise of Hitler, Mussolini and FDR, the Psalm 83 Arab invasion of Israel and finally the battle of Armageddon. It was in this last battle that everyone with the mark of the beast was cut into pieces by fiery, cutting tornadoes and fed to the birds. We now continue our studies of Zechariah, which provides an amazing description of the earth restored to its garden of Eden conditions—and of its people living in a virtual paradise. 

The Bible indicates that when the Lord returns, there will be major changes in the geography of the earth. The books of Isaiah and Revelation describe some of these changes: 

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain. (Isaiah 40:4) 

And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. (Revelation 6:14) 

And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. (Revelation 16:18–20) 

These amazing passages of Scripture indicate that the world’s mountain ranges will be leveled and its valleys raised, so that the earth will be a level plain as it was before the flood. Revelation also indicates the earth will become a broad plain during the millennium: “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about” (Revelation 20:9). In this verse, “breadth” can be translated “broad plain.” These descriptions indicate that the earth’s tectonic plates will be moved back together, and ocean basins raised somewhat.  

Before the flood, the whole earth apparently was one plain with perhaps gently rolling hills. The Bible says that there were “waters which were above the firmament” (Genesis 1:7), meaning a great mass of water above the atmosphere. Josephus says this was ice. During the flood, Genesis says that “the windows of heaven were opened,” and that it rained for forty days and forty nights (Genesis 7:11). This record indicates a breakup of the ice canopy which was above the earth and transfer of its water content as rain to the world’s oceans.  

How did this canopy stay in place? We don’t really know, but atmospheric pressure would be a major contributing force. We know that animals and plants were much larger before the flood; therefore, that atmospheric pressure was greater than it is today. If we assume an antediluvian pressure of two atmospheres, that would support an ice canopy some eighty feet thick. If the canopy were rotating, then centripetal force also would tend to hold it aloft. Finally, the shape of the spherical shell itself would have tended to resolve gravitational forces acting on it into lateral compressive stresses in much the same way as a parabolic arch. 

This ice canopy did several things. First, it increased atmospheric pressure to perhaps twice the earth’s present pressure, thereby allowing very large plants and animals to exist because of the increased partial pressure of carbon dioxide and oxygen—for example, the pterodactyl had a wingspan of fifty feet. The canopy also filtered ultraviolet light from the sun and perhaps was fiber-optic in transmitting light from the day side of the earth to the night side, so that it was never totally dark. Also, it prevented atmospheric convection and thereby the formation of clouds and of rain; the Bible said it did not rain before the flood, but that a mist used to rise out of the ground instead (Genesis 2:5–6). 

Before the flood, water used to rise from underground reservoirs and conduits (“the fountains of the great deep”; Genesis 7:11) by thermodynamic action, and then flow back into the sea via rivers, and then back again into the reservoirs, thereby to repeat the cycle. Energy was provided by nuclear reactions in the earth’s core, and probably transmitted through concentric layers of magma, molten salt, oil, and rock to the earth’s crust. This would explain the large amount of salt in the ocean and underground deposits of oil in various places.  

The Institute of Creation Research recently found in their RATE project that there was an accelerated burst of nuclear decay some four to fourteen thousand years ago, resulting from a sudden and presumably miraculous decrease of radioisotope half-life. This would explain a trigger for the flood: a sudden burst of nuclear activity in the earth’s core causing huge volcanic eruptions, which would break open the ice canopy and also disrupt the underground system of chambers and conduits, causing the continents to collapse and water to cover the earth. If the ice canopy were rotating, it would have angular momentum, and this would be transferred to the earth because angular momentum must be conserved.  

Before the flood, years were 360 days long, with twelve months of thirty days each. After the flood, the earth’s rotation sped up slightly so that each year had 365 days. In Bible prophecy, however, a year is still counted as the original 360 days. Zechariah 14 indicates that the ice canopy will be restored during the millennium: 

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. (Zechariah 14:6–7) 

There won’t be direct sunshine (“the light shall not be clear”) or total darkness (“nor dark”), and at night it will be twilight (“at evening time it shall be light”). During the millennium, the earth’s atmosphere and climate will be the same as before the flood; the earth will be uniformly warm from pole to pole without atmospheric convection or rain, and the earth will be habitable everywhere, without any deserts, ice caps, or high mountain ranges.  

At this time everyone on earth will be required to come to Jerusalem annually to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, and whoever refuses will be plagued and “upon them shall be no rain” (Zechariah 14:17–18). At first glance this seems contradictory to the earth not having rain, but actually the word “rain” does not appear in the Hebrew text but rather phrases meaning “shower of blessings” or “there shall not be needed blessings.” 

Zechariah 14 also indicates that the geography of Israel and Jerusalem will be changed:  

All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. (Zechariah 14:10–11) 

Israel will be a plain from Geba (the north border of Judah) to Rimmon (the south border of Judah), or generally speaking, from the sea of Galilee to the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea; whereas the city of Jerusalem itself will be lifted up, its highest point being the temple. This will be “the mountain of the Lord” (Micah 4:2). Ezekiel 40–48 describes the millennial temple in detail.  

The temple compound itself will be about one square mile-–much larger than the present Temple Mount: “He measured it by the four sides: it had a wall round about, five hundred reeds long, and five hundred broad” (Ezekiel 42:20). Around the temple will be an area reserved for priests, and it will have an area of about fifty square miles: “the Levites shall have five and twenty thousand in length, and ten thousand in breadth” (Ezekiel 48:13). The total area of Jerusalem will be 2,500 square miles: “All the oblation shall be five and twenty thousand by five and twenty thousand” (Ezekiel 48:20). The unit of measure here is a reed, or ten-and-one-half feet.  

That would make Jerusalem about the same size as metropolitan Houston, Texas—about fifty miles on a side. This is enough to fit several million people inside during the Feast of Tabernacles, during which all nations on earth will come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord and to sacrifice to him.  

According to Zechariah 14, there will be two rivers flowing out of the millennial temple: one toward the east, and one toward the west. Ezekiel 47 says the eastern river will support an abundance of fish as well as many kinds of productive fruit trees along its bank, whose leaves also will be for health (“medicine”). The Dead Sea will be healed and will empty into the sea, and it will support a very large number of fish, and fishermen will catch them. 

And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. (Zechariah 14:8) 

Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.  

And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine. (Ezekiel 47:8–12) 

Isaiah 4:5 says that the Lord will be a “cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night” upon every dwelling place in Jerusalem, just as he was with Israel during the exodus from Egypt, when they wandered for forty years in the wilderness. Isaiah also indicates that some people on earth will be carried to the Feast of Tabernacles by redeemed saints in their resurrection bodies: “Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?” (Isaiah 60:8). In context, this refers to nations coming to Jerusalem to worship the Lord during the millennium. Since some parts of the earth are more than ten thousand miles from Jerusalem, how will people get there? Apparently some will be picked up at “their windows” and flown!  

This illustrates a salient point about the redeemed saints—both Old and New Testament. They will have important responsibilities as priests and kings under the lordship of Jesus Christ. As Revelation 1:6 says, “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father”; this includes shepherding people whom God will have given to them to rule over—and this might mean flying them back and forth to Jerusalem. 

Zephaniah 3 also records that everyone in the millennium will speak the same language. This miraculous restoration of the original language reverses the equally miraculous confusion of tongues at Babel. The purpose of this conversion is so that all may call upon the name of the Lord and serve him together: “For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent” (Zephaniah 3:9). 

Because of perfect environmental conditions and lack of war during the millennium, the population of earth will increase rapidly, probably reaching several billion after one thousand years. Even so, unredeemed men will still have a sin nature, and must make a conscious and willful decision to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. Isaiah 65 indicates people born during the millennium will have one hundred years to receive Jesus as their Savior, and if they refuse, they will die. This also will involve keeping the Feast of Tabernacles at Jerusalem as a symbol of one’s faith in Jesus. Otherwise no one will die in the millennium, and some will live to be more than one thousand years old, as both Isaiah 65 and Zechariah 8 indicate: 

There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. (Isaiah 65:20) 

Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. (Zechariah 8:4–5) 

Although man will have been provided with a perfect world in which to live under the lordship of Jesus—with no death or disease and all material needs provided for—he still will have a sin nature and will need to be redeemed by faith. Therefore, the devil will be allowed one last chance to tempt mankind into rebelling against its Creator. The final act of the kingdom age, therefore, is seen not in Zechariah but in Revelation 20. After one thousand years of perfect peace and righteousness under the lordship of Jesus, Satan will be let out of his prison in order to “deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth.”  

Since all men will have received Jesus as their savior by one hundred years of age (“for the child shall die an hundred years old”)—or else be killed—this rebellion is a youthful one. They surround Jerusalem—which no doubt is able to hold several billion people in its 2,500 square miles and surrounding environs—but then “fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”  

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. (Revelation 20:7–9) 

This final act of rebellion probably is allowed by God to demonstrate once and for all that men have an incurable sin nature, and even under perfect environmental and social conditions they still will rebel against him. By implication, the only solution to this problem is a spiritual rebirth, not material blessings. Jesus said: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). 

I hope you have enjoyed reading this series about end-times prophecies in Zechariah. I provide more details of this and many other end-times prophecies in my recently published book, END TIMES DAWNING: Get Ready! (available from www.endtimesrecord.com). Please read it! Also if you would, please leave a book review on Amazon! 

Yours in Christ, 

Steve Ashburn

  

 

[This article was published on October 23, 2020]

 

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