By Bill Salus
In Part one of this two-part study, Jerusalem was explained to be a burdensome stone to the nations. Part two will address what happens to the surrounding Muslim nations in Zechariah 12:2. These Arab states falsely and forcibly contest Israel’s biblically endorsed sovereignty over Judah and Jerusalem.
“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness, (or trembling), to all the surrounding (Arab) peoples, (on the right hand and on the left), when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.” (Zec. 12:2, NKJV; emphasis added) ………………………………………………………………………………………………
Land for Peace Deals ARE NOT Biblically Endorsed! On August 3, 2017, the Haaretz Newspaper in Israel reported the following,
‘Jared Kushner Warns 'There May Be No Solution' to IsraeliPalestinian Conflict’ 2 “President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, expressed hesitancy at the United States' ability to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians…We’re trying to work with the parties very quietly to see if there's a solution. And there may be no solution.”
The 36-year-old Jared Kushner, who President Trump appointed as his lead Middle East peace envoy, has discovered what the former US Presidents, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barrack Obama were forced to realize; that finding a diplomatic solution that ends the Arab-Israel conflict is virtually impossible. These former US Presidents and their appointed envoys have tried trading the biblical Promised Land for Mideast peace to no avail, and Donald Trump’s team is thus far following in the same failed footsteps.
Land for peace deals are not biblically endorsed! The only diplomatic solution available to resolve the present Mideast conflict is described in the prophecy of Jeremiah 12:14-17, which was explained in part one of this two-part article. 3 Jeremiah 12:16 requires Israel’s Arab Muslim neighbors to abandon their worship of Allah, the god in the Koran, in favor of worshipping Jehovah, the God of the Bible. Under the present Mideast religious environment, this will not happen!
Jeremiah 12:17 declares, “But if they do not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that (Arab) nation,” says the Lord.”
Diplomacy Will Fail and Middle East War Will Prevail.
Jared Kushner’s assessment of the problematic Mideast peace process, “And there may be no solution,” is incorrect! Historically, when diplomacy fails, which it likely will in this case, wars typically prevail to resolve world and regional conflicts. This is what the Bible predicts will happen in Zechariah 12:4-6 and elsewhere.
“In that day, says the LORD, “I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in the LORD of hosts, their God.’ In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place—Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:4-6)
As a result of the sequence of events detailed in Zechariah 12:2, “in that day,” the prophet foretells how the Arab-Israeli conflict will conclude in the above verses. It ends very badly for the surrounding Arab nations and terrorist populations within them. The Arabs were duly warned in Zechariah 12:2 to abandon their siege upon Judah and Jerusalem. Zechariah declared that their struggle to control Jerusalem would cause them to tremble and reel like a violent drunkard. However, they persisted in their unbiblical pursuit of homesteading this holy land. It is safe to presume that these verses deal with the Arabs, because in both verses 2 and 6, Zechariah identifies the enemy as the surrounding neighbor nations. He uses the Hebrew word, “sabiyb,” to distinguish them. This is the same Hebrew word used in Ezekiel 28:24-26 and 36:3-7 to describe the neighboring Arab nations that share common borders with Israel. Zechariah 12:4-6 describes a battle strategy that can never be incorporated into any nations military manuals except for Israel’s. It involves a joint military campaign that combines supernatural intervention with conventional warfare. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will unleash their superior firepower upon their Arab enemies, while they simultaneously witness their God Jehovah miraculously weaken the enemy forces.
The IDF are depicted as a fiery torch that easily ignites a field of sheaves. By the time the IDF goes to battle their enemies are supernaturally reduced to mere kindling for the furnace, “like a fire pan in the woodpile.” The New Living Translation equates it to being, “Like a flame that sets a woodpile ablaze.” The International Standard Version (ISV) translates Zechariah 12:6 as follows;
“‘At that time, I will make the leaders of Judah like a brazier filled with blazing wood, or like a torch setting fire to harvested grain. They will devour all the invading armies, both on the right hand and on the left. As a result, Jerusalem will again be inhabited in its rightful place—as the real Jerusalem.’”
The Supernatural Sequence of Events that Ends the Mideast Conflict
The sequence of battle events flows as follows. Please note that my interpretations modernize the military scenario. Some commentaries suggest that the world abandons modern day weaponry and regresses back to the medieval times when wars were fought with horses with riders who utilized bows and arrows. When Zechariah prophesied there were no fighter jets flown by pilots, rather, there were horses arrayed for battle with riders saddled upon them. Thus, these are the terms he used to describe this war. • First, it appears that the Lord causes the Arab artilleries, tanks and armored vehicles to malfunction.
“I will strike every horse with confusion,” (Zec. 12:4a) This supernatural battle tactic was proven effective around 3500 years ago when the Pharaoh of Egypt and his armies were attempting to attack the Hebrews at the Red Sea crossing. The episode is recorded below.
“Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians. And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the face of Israel, the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.”” (Exodus 14:34-35)
• Second, these malfunctions apparently create hysteria among the enemy soldiers like it did to the Egyptians in the above example. “and its rider with madness;” (Zec. 12:4b) This same result happened in Judges 7 when Gideon’s 300-man army battled against 120,000 Midianites and prevailed.
“Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers—they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing—and they cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” And every man stood in his place all around the camp; and the whole army, (120,000 Midianites), ran and cried out and fled. When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the Lord set every (Midianite) man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the (panic-stricken Midianite) army fled to Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.” (Judges 7:20-22, NKJV; emphasis added)
This same hysteria will overtake the Ezekiel 38 invaders in the future according to Ezekiel 38:21. -Third, the Lord will turn His favor toward the IDF and somehow the radar capabilities of the enemy’s tanks, jets, rockets, etc. will become disabled. “I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every (enemy) horse of the peoples with blindness.” (Zec. 12:4c)
-Fourth, the IDF will become emboldened to battle as they witness the enemy’s equipment malfunction and the Arab armies panic. They will gain courage as they focus on their fight to regain sole sovereignty over Jerusalem.
“And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in the Lord of hosts, their God.’” (Zec. 12:5)
The Hebrew word for “governors” is “alluph.” It can also be translated as captain or chieftain.”
-Fifth, the IDF seem to slaughter the beleaguered and spooked Arab armies on all sides.“In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding (Arab) peoples on the right hand and on the left,” (Zec. 12:6a)
-Sixth, in victory the Jews will end the Arab-Israeli conflict and regain sovereign control over their holy city of Jerusalem. “but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place—Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:6b) The Zechariah 12 and Psalm 83 Connection Zechariah 12:2, 4-6, appears to be a minor peripheral prophecy that is intended to find application to the more major prophecy described in Psalm 83. Zechariah seems to provide some of the important details that take place during the fulfillment of Psalm 83.
Psalm 83, which was authored by the Hebrew prophet Asaph over five centuries before Zechariah prophesied, predicts that a war between the Arabs and the Israelis will be what resolves the Middle East conflict. Due to the striking similarities between Psalm 83 and Zechariah 12, it appears that these two powerful prophecies are interrelated. Some of these similarities are identified below.
(Map superimposes the ancient names of the Psalm 83 nations over their modern-day equivalents. They represent “all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left” of Zec. 12:2,6), The Arabs form an alliance against Israel - Zechariah 12:2 says the surrounding Arab states ally together to lay siege upon Judah and Jerusalem. Psalm 83: 2-8, 12, predicts the same neighboring Arab states will confederate and devise crafty counsel to destroy Israel to take possession of the Promised Land. In modernity, we see that this devious Arab plan has incorporated conventional warfare, as in the cases of the wars of 1948, 1967 and 1971, and It has also included a propaganda war that has propagated the myth that the Palestinians have just claims to these Israeli territories. This hype has successfully gotten the International community to refer to these lands as “Israeli occupied” territories.
The Bible endorses Israel’s sovereignty over these areas, but the Arabs, the Muslim world and the international community opposes Israel’s rightful claims. This campaign of misinformation has caused the international community to meddle in the sovereignty of these areas, which was predicted to occur in Zechariah 12:3. The Arabs go to war against Israel – Zechariah 12:4-6 describes an Arab-Israeli War. Psalm 83:4 informs that the Arab’s purpose for this war is the final elimination of Israel. They say,
“Let us go and erase them as a nation so the name of Israel will not be remembered anymore.” (Psalm 83:4, ISV)
The Arabs are soundly and supernaturally defeated – Zechariah 12:4-6 declares that the IDF are supernaturally empowered to slaughter the surrounding Arab armies. Psalm 83:9-11 petitions the Lord to do this very thing. These Psalm 83 verses recount the historical battles that were fought in Judges 4-8. One of these battles was the underdog victory of Gideon’s 300-man army over the 120,000 strong Midianite army. Like the Lord intervened and empowered the IDF to victory in that historic Gideon battle, Zechariah 12:4-6 will be somewhat of a repeat performance. Asaph petitioned for this in Psalm 83:9-11 and the Lord honors this specific request according to Zechariah 12:4-6.
Another striking similarity is between the following verses. “In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left.” (Zechariah 12:6, NKJV) “O my God, make them like the whirling dust, Like the chaff before the wind! As the fire burns the woods, And as the flame sets the mountains on fire,” (Psalm 83:13-14, NJKV)
This two-part article has taken a different approach to interpreting Zechariah 12:1-6. The traditional teaching has mostly associated these verses with events that take place during the 9 campaign of Armageddon. If that’s the best interpretation, then what we see taking place in the Middle East is simply setting the stage for events that happen near the end of the seven-year Tribulation Period. However, if my view of these verses is correct, then the world is about to witness the Lord’s supernatural intercession, rather than America’s diplomatic intervention, to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. I believe that Zechariah 12:1-6 and Psalm 83 are Now Prophecies, which are prophecies that lack preconditions and could happen presently. My view is supported by the premise that the IDF is involved in defeat of the surrounding Arab nations in both prophecies. The IDF currently appears to be prepared to tackle this monumental task. Thus, it appears that soon land for peace diplomacy fails and war prevails to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Moreover, this Mideast conflict will likely conclude prior to the seven-year Tribulation Period for the following two reasons. 1. During the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation Period, Israel is living in a pseudo peace, which results from the ratification of the covenant in Daniel 9:27. This implies that the IDF will be mostly inactive and not warring against the surrounding Arab states. 2. In the second three and one-half years of the Tribulation Period, the Israelis are being persecuted in the genocidal attempt of the Antichrist. This infers that the IDF will be fleeing from the Antichrist, rather than fighting against their Arab neighbors.