The LORD Will Be King
“The LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one” (v. 9).- Zechariah 14:1–9
Having said much about the future cleansing of God’s people and the turning of a large number of Jews to their Messiah just before the last day, Zechariah describes this last day in more detail in chapter 14 of his book. This is perhaps the most symbolic chapter of the prophet’s entire work. Using vivid imagery, Zechariah gives us an apocalyptic vision that points us to the end of days while also alluding to realities that occur throughout the history of God’s people.
Clues to the symbolic nature of Zechariah 14 are found in the references to the Lord placing “his feet” on the Mount of Olives (v. 4) and the rivers of living water that flow to the east and to the west from Jerusalem (v. 8). Since God is spirit (John 4:24), we know that He does not literally possess a physical body with physical feet. Furthermore, we have also seen that in the prophetic books, including Zechariah, rivers of living water depict new spiritual life and the final restoration of all creation metaphorically (Ezek. 47:1–12; Zech. 13:1).
If the text is largely symbolic, then what is it telling us about the last day? First, it points us to a cataclysmic final battle between the enemies of God’s people and the Lord and His saints. Through this war, a remnant will survive (Zech. 14:1–2) and there will be geographic upheaval. The Mount of Olives will be split in half (v. 4). Moreover, just when the people of God seem to be on the verge of losing the war, the Lord and His heavenly army will intervene to save the day (v. 5). One cannot help but think of the upheaval at the consummation that will result in the final redemption of the people whom our Creator has reserved for Himself and the transformation of all creation into the new heavens and earth. The Apostle Peter tells us that this will occur through heavenly fire (2 Peter 3:11–13).
On that day, living waters will flow to the east to the Dead Sea and west to the Mediterranean Sea (Zech. 14:8). The prophet is saying that God will bring renewal to all of His people’s inheritance. Since this will “continue in summer as in winter,” we see that this life is eternal. Unlike the seasonal rivers that only flow at certain times of the year in the Promised Land, these living waters will never fail to issue forth and do their work.
Finally, “the LORD will be king over all the earth” (v. 9). All people will recognize His full sovereignty and there will never be rebellion against Him again.
John Calvin writes, “Nothing indeed can be more blessed than to live under the reign of God; and this highest happiness is ever promised to the faithful.” Because human beings rebel against God, however, His reign is not always acknowledged, and the church suffers attack. But God preserves His inheritance—the elect remnant—both now and in the future. We taste the “highest happiness” today in Christ, and will enjoy it fully at His return. Our enemies will lose the war.
Passages for Further Study