(Today’s post by Adam Cooper)
Wow! Isn’t prophecy great! Sometimes it seems that things could have been said a lot easier; I mean why beat around the bush right? I can only imagine what these prophets thought as these amazing things were revealed to them. I think if the Lord revealed the things to me that He revealed to Zechariah I would live in a constant state of expectation. A constant state of preparedness for what the Lord has promised.
In this verse of Zechariah it is widely accepted that the events being discussed are the return of Christ to sit in rule over the Earth during the millennium; the time between the Lord’s return and the time during which Satan is bound before being released for the final battle. It shows the culmination of the great battle that is ended by the return of the Lord after the remnant of Jews finally acknowledge Him and cry out for His return. The events in this chapter of Zechariah will occur after the tribulation, which means, at least through my beliefs, that many believers will have already been gathered up to Heaven.
What is interesting in this chapter is that it appears that there will be survivors of the tribulation who do not come to a saving faith in Christ. “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 Feast 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. (NIV)” To me this indicates that there will be some who refuse to go to the mountain to worship and for their insolence they will be subjected to the removal of rain (another word for God’s blessings).
Are we being told here that we will have another time when God shows His awesome power and saves His people from utter destruction and still people do not choose Him as their savior? Given the history of mankind this should not come as a surprise to anyone. This portion of future events is never discussed in detail, probably because of the continued debate about whether the description is analogous or literal, and also because of the confusion that can be brought up by saying that some who do not accept Christ will survive the tribulation. Of course you have to consider that in Scripture we are told in Matthew 25 that when the Lord assumes His throne he will separate the sheep (believers) from the goats (non-believers) and He will judge them: “41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” This verse indicates that even though non-believers may survive the tribulation they will definitely not remain living through the millennium. This puts a new spin on the verses in Zechariah which imply that some will not go up to worship because those people who make the decision to not go up and worship are BELIEVERS that survived the tribulation and judgment.
This reality continues to hit me right between the eyes. Believers who have stood before the Lord and have been judged will turn their back on the Lord during the millennium. Satan will not be the one tempting them into apostasy (“He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. Rev. 20:2 (NIV)) so it will be “free will” at its worst. These people who have turned away from the Lord and a number of those born during the millennial reign will become Satan’s army for his last stand after the 1,000 years. Wow!
How does it make you feel that believers, possibly our very descendants, could be among those who conspire with Satan for one last stand against the Lord who sacrificed Himself for us on the cross? A look back at Jewish history speaks volumes to this possibility and brings wisdom to the old saying that those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. What makes this a reality? A continued weakening and watering down of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for starters. And as each generation passes Biblical morality fades and blind tolerance runs rampant and in the end we are left with believers rebelling against the Lord.
The good thing is that this does not weigh totally on our shoulders. While I believe we do have an enormous responsibility to maintain the integrity of what we teach and preach about God’s word I also understand and have faith that everything is in God’s hands. No matter how well we teach what we have been given there will inevitably be someone who makes the choice to turn their back on the truth.
Be diligent in your teaching. Be diligent in your study. Challenge things that seem to contradict what you believe to be in the Word. False prophets continue to inflict their damage on believers worldwide and it will take courage to defend the truth. I pray you meaningfully touch someone’s life today!