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A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Zechariah 12-14

Kuruvilla Thomas
Bangalore (1/1/2020)




Zechariah 12-14 Timeline
Fig. 1


Introduction

This study treats Zechariah 12-14 as a "Functional Chiasmus" in order to arrive at a coherent reconfiguration of the text. Text that is arranged in the form of a functional chiasmus must be rearranged based on certain logical principles to be correctly interpreted. A functional chiasmus is a new concept; see definition here [1]. This study also contains an exegesis of the rearranged text. If you wish to skip the technicalities of a chiastic parse, you may read starting from Part 4 of the Discussion section, which has the reconfigured text.

This passage in Zechariah, especially Chapter 14, is considered one of the most difficult to interpret. We show here, that these three chapters form a simple Functional Chiasmus. Even though the chiastic structure is straightforward, the language and symbolism used make this a hard passage to interpret. One of the mechanisms used for obfuscation in the passage is the use of the same words, like "Jerusalem", to mean different things in different parts of the prophecy.


Notes:
We will use the term "Judahite" to refer to the Israelites living in and around Jerusalem in the 1st century who primarily were of the tribe of Judah; We will try to avoid the term "Jew" to avoid the confusion it introduces.


Discussion

1. Presuppositions

We base our parse of Zechariah 12-14 on the assumption that it refers to 3 periods:

  1. The period of the ministry of Christ up to his death.(circa 27AD-30AD)
  2. The First Jewish–Roman War (circa 66AD–74AD). The Roman army began their siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD and completely destroyed the city and its people shortly thereafter.
  3. Christ's millennial reign on earth (circa 2000AD).

2. Parsing the chiasmus

We will use the NIV Bible for this parse.

Parsing this chiasmus involves dividing portions of the text into three categories as above. We will call the period of the Ministry of Christ Period 1, the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD Period 2 and Christ's millennial reign Period 3.


Categorizing Zechariah 12-14

Ch 12 Vs 2-9 belong to Period 3. The start of Christ's millennial rule.

Ch 12 Vs 10-14 belong to Period 2. The people of Jerusalem mourn for the Messiah they pierced with a spirit of grace and supplication.

Ch 13 belongs to Period 1. The ministry of Christ.

Ch 14 Vs 1-5 belongs to Period 2. The destruction of Jerusalem and the escape of the Christians.

Ch 14 Vs 6-21 belong to Period 3. More information on the millennial reign of Christ.


Original text

We color-code the chiastic units of the original text (NIV) below for easy visual identification using: red for Period 1, blue for Period 2 and green for Period 3.


Zechariah 12 2 “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 3 On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. 4 On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. 5 Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’
6 “On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.
7 “The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. 8 On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them. 9 On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.

10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. 11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, 13 the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, 14 and all the rest of the clans and their wives.

Zechariah 13 1 “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.
2 “On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the Lord Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land. 3 And if anyone still prophesies, their father and mother, to whom they were born, will say to them, ‘You must die, because you have told lies in the Lord’s name.’ Then their own parents will stab the one who prophesies.
4 “On that day every prophet will be ashamed of their prophetic vision. They will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive. 5 Each will say, ‘I am not a prophet. I am a farmer; the land has been my livelihood since my youth.’ 6 If someone asks, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ they will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’
7 “Awake, sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me!” declares the Lord Almighty. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones. 8 In the whole land,” declares the Lord, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. 9 This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”


Zechariah 14 1 A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls.
2 I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

6 On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. 7 It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.
8 On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter.
9 The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.
10 The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up high from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses, and will remain in its place. 11 It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.
12 This is the plague with which the Lord will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13 On that day people will be stricken by the Lord with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another. 14 Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. 15 A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.
16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain. 18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The Lord will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.
20 On that day holy to the Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. 21 Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord Almighty.



3. Building the reconfigured text


From this parse, it appears that Zechariah 12-14 forms a Functional chiasmus as below:

A1   Ch 12 Vs 2-9 Period 3. The start of Christ's millennial rule.
  B1   Ch 12 Vs 10-14 Period 2. The people of Jerusalem mourn for the Messiah.
    X   Ch 13 Period 1. The ministry of Christ.
  B2   Ch 14 Vs 1-5 Period 2. The destruction of Jerusalem and the escape of the Christians.
A2   Ch 14 Vs 6-21 Period 3. More information on the millennial reign of Christ.


We now reconstruct the phrases in the right order based on the chiastic structure above and based on the ordering rules of a functional chiasmus [1].

We lead with central pivot point 'X'. The corresponding subunits (For example; subunit A1 corresponds to A2) are placed contiguously to form units (For example, A1,A2 is a unit ) so that we get a list of such units.


The sequence selected for rearrangement is:

X  [A1,A2]  [B1,B2]        (1)

Translating (1) into verse numbers, we get:

Ch 13  [Ch 12 Vs 2-9,Ch 14 Vs 6-21]   [Ch 12 Vs 10-14, Ch 14 Vs 1-5]        (2)

We arrive at the reconfigured passage in the next section by rearranging the verses so they are in sequence (2).



4. Zechariah 12-14 Reconfigured

The ministry of Christ.(circa 27AD-30AD).(Ch 13)
Chapter 13 1 “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.
2 “On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the Lord Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land. 3 And if anyone still prophesies, their father and mother, to whom they were born, will say to them, ‘You must die, because you have told lies in the Lord’s name.’ Then their own parents will stab the one who prophesies.
4 “On that day every prophet will be ashamed of their prophetic vision. They will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive. 5 Each will say, ‘I am not a prophet. I am a farmer; the land has been my livelihood since my youth.’ 6 If someone asks, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ they will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’
7 “Awake, sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me!” declares the Lord Almighty. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones. 8 In the whole land,” declares the Lord, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. 9 This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”



Christ's millennial reign on earth (circa 2000AD). (Ch 12 Vs 2-9,Ch 14 Vs 6-21)
Chapter 12 2 “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 3 On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. 4 On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. 5 Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’
6 “On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.
7 “The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. 8 On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them. 9 On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.


Chapter 14 6 On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. 7 It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.
8 On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter.
9 The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.
10 The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up high from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses, and will remain in its place. 11 It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.
12 This is the plague with which the Lord will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13 On that day people will be stricken by the Lord with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another. 14 Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. 15 A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.
16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain. 18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The Lord will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.
20 On that day holy to the Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. 21 Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord Almighty.


The First Jewish–Roman War (circa 66AD–74AD) (Ch 12 Vs 10-14, Ch 14 Vs 1-5)
Chapter 12 10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. 11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, 13 the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, 14 and all the rest of the clans and their wives.

Chapter 14 1 A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls.
2 I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.




5. An exegesis of the reconfigured text.

The passage has been split into 3 sections as above for analysis.

We take the position that some phrases such as "Jerusalem" and "the house of David" take on different meanings in each Period as a means of obfuscating the text. Both "Jerusalem" and "the house of David" appear at least once in each of the 3 Periods.


5.1 The ministry of Christ.(circa 27AD-30AD).(Ch 13)

In this Period, "Jerusalem" refers to Judah and the surrounding regions where Jesus taught, and "the house of David" refers to Jesus, who was from the line of David. The word "Judah" does not appear in the text for this period.



Chapter 13 1 “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.


The Gospel from God was preached through Jesus to the people of Judah and the neighbouring regions. Those who believed in Jesus and followed his teachings are cleansed of their sins.



Chapter 13 2 “On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the Lord Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land. 3 And if anyone still prophesies, their father and mother, to whom they were born, will say to them, ‘You must die, because you have told lies in the Lord’s name.’ Then their own parents will stab the one who prophesies.
4 “On that day every prophet will be ashamed of their prophetic vision. They will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive. 5 Each will say, ‘I am not a prophet. I am a farmer; the land has been my livelihood since my youth.’ 6 If someone asks, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ they will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’

When Jesus started his ministry, idolatry and false prophets were common. But Jesus' teachings, his life, death and resurrection, turned the people back to their God and helped them easily identify the false prophets. These prophets were occultists - worshippers of demon gods - who used the black arts to lead people astray. The false prophets had to lie when asked about their past or about the ritual scarring on their bodies that is a part of occult practice.



Chapter 13 7 “Awake, sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me!” declares the Lord Almighty. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones.

With this personification, God makes it clear that He allowed the death of His Son to occur. Jesus himself quotes from this passage (Matthew 26:31) , confirming that it was about his death. The followers of Jesus also faced persecution from the Pharisees and the Romans.



Chapter 13 8 In the whole land,” declares the Lord, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. 9 This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

Only a third of the people of Judah believed in Jesus and they were tested to see if they were faithful through struggles, temptations and persecutions. Those who did not believe will eventually face eternal death.

Note we treat the end of Christ's ministry c. 30 AD as the end of this Period. We treat the events in verses 8&9 as outside the Period; they were the results of Christ's ministry that happen at some indefinite period later.



5.2 Christ's millennial reign on earth (circa 2000AD). (Ch 12 Vs 2-9,Ch 14 Vs 6-21)

For this Period, it appears that: "Jerusalem" refers to the new Israel of Christ's millennial reign; "the House of David" refers to the ruler of the Millennial kingdom - either Christ or a representative; "Judah" refers to the faithful of all nations.



Chapter 12 2 “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 3 On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. 4 On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. 5 Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’
6 “On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.
7 “The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. 8 On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them. 9 On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.

This passage appears to describe an attack on Israel and the faithful around the world at the beginning of the millennial reign. The attack is supernaturally defeated so that it is clear to the people of the world that the Almighty is protecting the new Israel. Since this a future event, we will not speculate on the details of this passage that are not entirely clear.



Chapter 14 6 On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. 7 It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.
8 On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter.
9 The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.

Christ will establish his reign over the earth and Israel will be a source of divine wisdom to the world at all times. ("Jerusalem" here represents Israel and the two "seas" represent the east and west directions; the sense is that through Israel, God's wisdom will cover the earth from east to west.)



Chapter 14 10 The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up high from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses, and will remain in its place. 11 It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.

Geba and Rimmon formed the Northern and Southern borders of Judah; so "Geba to Rimmon" represents all of Judah from north to south, which in this Period, represents the whole world from north to south.

The Benjamin Gate, the First Gate, the Corner Gate, the Tower of Hananel. and the royal winepresses were all located along the borders of Jerusalem in various directions. So taken together, they represented all of Jerusalem which, in this Period, represents all of Israel.

The sense of this verse is that Israel alone will be elevated above the rest of the "plain" world as the land of the elite of God (the Israelites and the faithful Christians ) and as the seat of power from which Jesus rules the world.



Chapter 14 12 This is the plague with which the Lord will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13 On that day people will be stricken by the Lord with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another. 14 Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. 15 A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.

The forces that attack Israel will suffer at the hands of a supernatural force; Israel will collect large quantities of war booty.



Chapter 14 16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain. 18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The Lord will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.
20 On that day holy to the Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. 21 Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord Almighty.

The people of hostile nations will be forced to pay tribute to the God of Israel or risk facing His wrath. Since these are future events, we will not speculate on the details of this passage that are not entirely clear.



5.3 The First Jewish–Roman War (circa 66AD–74AD) (Ch 12 Vs 10-14, Ch 14 Vs 1-5)

For this Period, "Jerusalem" and "the house of David" take on their literal meanings. "Jerusalem" is the city of Jerusalem circa 70AD and "the house of David" is the clan of the royal line of David.



Chapter 12 10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. 11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, 13 the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, 14 and all the rest of the clans and their wives.

This mourning for Christ could have happened at any time after his death but through an interpretation of this passage we will show below that it most likely happened during the First Jewish-Roman War.

The Roman General Vespasian and his son Titus began the campaign to crush the revolt by attacking the Judahite centres surrounding Jerusalem in 67AD (See our reconstruction of Daniel 9 [2] for a more detailed history of the period.). A large number of Judahites in these towns fled Roman punishment to take refuge in the fortified city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem became a cramped refugee camp where each clan probably had its own camp and women lived in separate camps for their protection. When they heard about the approaching army and what may be certain death, the people may have realised that they were about to be punished for the death of the Messiah and moved to great mourning with grace and regret - a mourning as great as that for the death King Josiah at the hands of Necho II. They also pleaded for deliverance from the dreaded Romans. They mourned as clans, each clan in its own camp and the women separately.

The clans specifically mentioned here give us further clues on the location. The clans of David and Nathan belonged to the royal line and the clans of Levi and Shimei belonged to the priestly line. We would expect these clans to be prominent in the capital city with its temple.



Chapter 14 1 A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls.
2 I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

Verses 1&2 in this passage are a summary of the destruction of Jerusalem and the rest of verses are about the escape of Christians to the mountains.

The Roman army, with the help allies and client states, plundered Jerusalem. The Christians in Jerusalem escaped at the start of the siege; those remaining were horrifically tortured and killed, and those who were not killed were taken away as slaves.

The armies of the Romans and their allies approached Jerusalem from the north and from the west and set up their main camp to the west of the city. They tried to set up a smaller camp on the east of the city on the Mount of Olives but were initially repulsed by bands of soldiers from within the city. This was vitally important to the Christians who fled the city to the Jordanian mountains to the east, as Christ had instructed them (Matthew 24:16).

The sense of verses 3-5 is that the Lord will create a figurative east to west "divide" on the Mount of Olives - he will get troops from Jerusalem to keep the enemy soldiers at bay to the north of the Mountain so that the Christians can flee by the Kidron valley on the south of the Mountain. The sudden exodus of a large part of the city will block up the valley just as it was jammed by people fleeing the earthquake. (See Septuagint Translation of verse 5).



Conclusion

This paper is a chiastic reconstruction of the text which shows that the passage contains three interwoven prophetic passages. Once again, we see the destruction of Jerusalem feature prominently; we treat its presence as a validation of the parse.

The prophecy has two passages that are quoted in the New Testament as being about Jesus: Zech. 12:10 quoted in John 19:37 "They will look on the One they have pierced."; Zech. 13:7 quoted in Matthew 26:31 "I will strike the shepherd,...". With this reconstruction and interpretation, it is more apparent that the verses are about Jesus. The first Period in this reconstructions is about Jesus' ministry and death during his first coming, and the last Period is about his glorious millennial reign.



References

[1] A Definition of Functional Chiasmus
[2] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of "The 70 Weeks Of Daniel"






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