Zechariah 14:2 I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle
The state of Israel is not particularly popular with Muslim nations. It is not difficult to imagine a scenario in which Muslim nations joined forces against the Jews, but what about "all nations"? Given the current political climate, it is difficult to imagine the United States ever joining a battle against the state of Israel. Perhaps the prophecy is parochial, meaning that Zechariah was describing "all nations" that existed in his day and not "all nations" that exist in ours. Either way, Israel will be faced with a terrible and terrifying large enemy at the fateful day.
"Before the coming of Christ, the great war, sometimes called Armageddon, will take place as spoken of by the prophets. Another war of Gog and Magog will be after the millennium." (LDS Church News, 1994, 10/15/94)
Often, scholars and commentators will equate Armageddon with the battle of God and Magog, but Joseph Smith declared, "The battle of Gog and Magog will be after the millennium" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 280). Armageddon is the battle preceding the Second Coming in which all nations will be gathered in the valley of Megiddon (Zech. 12:11) and Jerusalem will be under siege.
[The devil] will gather up millions upon millions of people into the valleys around about Jerusalem in order to destroy the Jews after they have gathered. How will the Devil do this? He will perform miracles to do it. The Bible says the kings of the earth and the great ones will be deceived by these false miracles. It says there shall be three unclean spirits that shall go forth working miracles, and they are spirits of devils. Where do they go? To the kings of the earth; and what will they do? Gather them up to battle unto the great day of God Almighty. Where? Into the valley of Armageddon. And where is that? On the east side of Jerusalem.
When he gets them gathered together, they do not understand any of these things; but they are given up to that power that deceived them, by miracles that had been performed, to get them to go into that valley to be destroyed. Joel, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and nearly all of the ancient Prophets have predicted that the nations shall be gathered up against Jerusalem, in the valley of Jehoshaphat and the valley of Megiddo-that there the Lord shall fight for his people, and smite the horse and his rider, and send plagues on these armies, and their flesh shall be consumed from their bones, and their eyes from their sockets. (Journal of Discourses, 7:189)
Alvin R. Dyer
At this critical time two mighty prophets will be raised up among the Jews, who will prophesy and testify unto the house of Judah for three and one-half years concerning the calling and work of Jesus Christ the Redeemer of mankind. They will be blessed with great powers that will enable them to hold in check the great army... during the period of their ministry. The work of these two witnesses and the power that they wield is so important to the redemption of Judah, that the account of their ministry, as seen in vision by John the Revelator: (quotes Rev. 11:3-11). (Who Am I? [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1966], 438)
Parley P. Pratt
Suffice it to say, the Jews gather home, and rebuild Jerusalem. The nations gather against them in battle. Theft armies encompass the city, and have more or less power over it for three years and a half. A couple of Jewish prophets, by their mighty miracles, keep them from utterly overwhelming the Jews; until at length they are slain, and the city is left in a great measure to the mercy of their enemies for three days and a half. The two prophets then rise from the dead and ascend up into heaven. The Messiah comes, convulses the earth, overthrows the army of the Gentiles, delivers the Jews, cleanses Jerusalem, cuts off all wickedness from the earth, raises the saints from the dead, brings them with him, and commences his reign of a thousand years; during which time his Spirit will be poured out upon flesh; men and beasts, birds and serpents, will be perfectly harmless, and peace and the knowledge and glory of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea; and the kingdom and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the saints of the Most High. (A Voice of Warning [New York City: Eastern States Mission [189-?], 42 - 43.)
Zechariah 14:2 the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished
Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. (Isaiah 13:15-16.)
In the first desolation of abomination at the hands of the Romans (circa 70 AD), the inhabitants of Jerusalem suffered a similar fate. Josephus records:
The famine confounded all natural passions; for those who were just going to die looked upon those that were gone to rest before them with dry eyes and open mouths. A deep silence also, and a kind of deadly night, had seized upon the city; while yet the robbers were still more terrible than these miseries were themselves; for they brake open those houses which were no other than graves of dead bodies, and plundered them of what they had; and carrying off the coverings of their bodies, went out laughing, and tried the points of their swords in their dead bodies; and, in order to prove what metal they were made of they thrust some of those through that still lay alive upon the ground; but for those that entreated them to lend them their right hand and their sword to despatch them, they were too proud to grant their requests, and left them to be consumed by the famine. (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book V 12:3)
Zechariah 14:3-4 his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives... and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof
those nations will be so infatuated, and so determined to persecute the people of God-as much so as Pharaoh and his army in ancient days-that they will say-"Come, now is the time to pitch into the Jews and destroy them." And they will commence their work of destruction, and they will succeed so far as to take one half the city, and while they are in the very act of destroying Jerusalem, behold the heavens are rent, and the Son of God with all the heavenly hosts appears, and he descends and rests upon the summit of the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east. And so great will be the power of God that will then be made manifest, that the mountain will divide asunder, half going towards the south, and half towards the north, producing a great valley going east and west, from the walls of Jerusalem eastward.
What next? The Jews that are not taken captive by these nations, will flee to the valleys of the mountains, says the Prophet Zechariah; and when they get into that great valley, where these personages are who have descended, they expect to find the Deliverer which their Prophets have spoken of so long. But they do not for a moment suppose that it is Jesus, oh no, Jesus was an impostor. The personage they have been looking for some eighteen hundred years is the true Messiah, and now, say they-"He has come to deliver us." But how great will be their astonishment when, while looking at their Deliverer, they see that his hands are marred considerably! Say they, one to another-"There are large scars in his hands; and there is another large scar in his side, and behold his feet, they are scarred also!" And, as the Prophet Zechariah has said, they will begin to enquire of him-"What are these wounds with which thou art wounded?" And he replies-"These are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends." (Journal of Discourses, 18:65-66)
Zechariah 14:7 at evening time it shall be light
Henry B. Eyring
Many of the scriptures have become familiar to us. Yet in just a few weeks what I remembered about the Savior, and what I felt about Him, were enriched.
I began to read with purpose. Perhaps it was because of the Christmas season, perhaps it was because I wanted always to remember Him, but I found myself drawn to the accounts of His birth. I read again His words, spoken to a prophet named Nephi, recorded in the Book of Mormon, familiar to us all. And yet it seemed new to me:
Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son-of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.
And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came (3 Ne. 1:14-15).
And then, because my mind was set to try to know more of Him, I noticed in my reading another scripture that had somehow never before caught my eye. It is in Zechariah, not a frequent stopping place unless you are on a search. Zechariah prophesied of the Second Coming of the Savior with these words: "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" (Zech. 14:7).
Later, as I had never done before, I felt that I saw in my mind and felt in my heart the fulfillment of Samuel the Lamanite's prophecy that the sun would set without darkness (see Hel. 14:3-4). I saw it at His birth, as if I were somewhere among the people in those lands of promise. And I saw it as it will be when He comes to stand, in resurrected glory, on the Mount of Olives. The darkness will be dispelled when the promised Messiah comes with healing in His wings. Knowing how much I need that healing, my heart nearly bursts with joy and love for Him at the thought of that light. I believe I will never see the dawning of a new day, as the sun banishes the darkness, without the sight triggering love in my heart for Him. ("Always," Ensign, Oct. 1999, 10)
Zechariah 14:8 living waters shall go out from Jerusalem... in summer and in winter
George A. Smith
[The] prophet tells us that living waters shall come out of Jerusalem, half toward the former sea, and half toward the hinder sea, and that in summer and in winter shall it be.
The convent at Mar Saba is situated on the canyon, which is the outlet of the brook Kedron; but it was perfectly dry when we were there, not a drop of water running in it. There are seasons of the year, I suppose, when waters run there, but these prophecies declare that living waters shall run out of Jerusalem in summer and winter, and I am foolish enough to believe that they will be literally fulfilled. I agreed with Rabbi Askenasi in the belief that God would restore that land to Israel, and that Jerusalem would again be supplied with abundance of water and be a glorious and happy city. (Journal of Discourses, 6/22/1873, 16:97)
Zechariah 14:9 the Lord shall be king over all the earth
The Lord will be king over all the earth, and all mankind literally under his sovereignty, and every nation under the heavens will have to acknowledge his authority, and bow to his sceptre. Those who serve him in righteousness will have communications with God, and with Jesus; will have the ministering of angels, and will know the past, the present, and the future; and other people, who may not yield full obedience to his laws, nor be fully instructed in his covenants, will, nevertheless, have to yield full obedience to his government. fn For it will be reign of God upon the earth, and he will enforce his laws, and command that obedience from the nations of the world which is legitimately his right. Satan will not then be permitted to control its inhabitants, for the Lord God will be king over all the earth, and the kingdom and greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven will be given to the saints. (The Gospel Kingdom: Selections from the Writings and Discourses of John Taylor, selected, arranged, and edited, with an introduction by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1941], 207 - 208)
Zechariah 14:12 the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem
Bruce R. McConkie
Already man has created weapons that will have this very effect upon those upon whom the death-dealing powers are sent forth. And lest any assume that the ancient word shall not be fulfilled in the full and literal sense, the Lord in our day acclaims:
I the Lord God will send forth flies upon the face of the earth, which shall take hold of the inhabitants thereof, and shall eat their flesh, and shall cause maggots to come in upon them;
And their tongues shall be stayed that they shall not utter against me; and their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes from their sockets;
And it shall come to pass that the beasts of the forest and the fowls of the air shall devour them up. (D&C 29:18-20.)
These things boggle the mind and dull our sensitivities. We can scarcely conceive the full horror of what is involved, and what we do envision shall be only the beginning of sorrows, as it were. "And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour." It is as though the whole world shall become one great arena of anarchy, with every man wielding his own sword and seeking to betray and slay his brother. (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 466)
Zechariah 14:14-15 the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together
When the children of Israel left Egypt, they did so with a great spoil. Having "borrowed" jewels and gold from their Egyptian neighbors, they departed for the wilderness with their animals heavily laden with precious metals (Ex. 12:35-36). Moses' delivery of Israel from Egypt is symbolic of Jesus' delivery of Jerusalem from the forces of Babylon.
The animals will be heavily burdened; the horse, the mule, the camel, and all the beasts of burden will be laden with all the spoil the Jews will take from the army the Messiah has destroyed. For the animals, it will be a plague; for the Jews, it will be time of joy and rejoicing-a time to gather the wealth of their enemies.
Zechariah 14:16 every one that is left... shall even go up... to keep the feast of tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles is akin to our Thanksgiving-a celebration of the successful and bounteous harvest-an acknowledgment that all good things come from God.
"The Feast of Tabernacles or Booths is the final feast and with joy proclaims that the harvest is complete. It, too, has much significance:
Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruits of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days. ...
And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees ... and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. (Lev. 23:39-40.)
"This feast commemorates the fact that as the Israelites wandered in the wilderness they dwelt under booths covered over with boughs of trees. But it also relates to the harvest. Even to this day, at the appointed time, Jews set up booths at home or near synagogues with roofs of boughs and decorate them with the fruits gleaned from the harvest. There are many who have come to believe this feast symbolizes the millennium.
"Zechariah may have been the first to make such a connection. He proclaims that after the Lord has come to reign as King upon the earth, '... every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.' (Zech. 14:16.)
"Since the Feast of Tabernacles is rejoicing in the completed harvest, would not the completion of Christ's harvest be the cause for rejoicing at this time? Since the Feast of Tabernacles is 'dwelling under boughs of goodly trees,' would not our 'goodly dwelling' be Christ's presence at such a time? The Psalms use the images of 'shelter,' 'dwelling place,' and 'shade' all as descriptive of the Lord's role unto his people. Nor can we ignore the former use of palm boughs to herald Christ's entry into Jerusalem, acknowledging his kingship, or the reference in Revelation that describes heavenly worship and acknowledgment of Christ's kingship with palm boughs. (See Rev. 7:9-10)
"So the time may come when we will all keep the Feast of Tabernacles. But our rejoicing will be in the spiritual harvest, and our dwelling will be in the presence of the Savior, not under the boughs that have so long symbolized him." (Lenet H. Read, "Symbols of the Harvest: Old Testament Holy Days and the Lord's Ministry," Ensign, Jan. 1975, 36)
On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John were shown many things not recorded in scripture. The Lord said, "the earth shall be transfigured, even according to the pattern which was shown unto mine apostles upon the mount; of which account the fulness ye have not yet received" (D&C 63:21). After the vision, Peter makes a curious statement, "if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias" (Matt. 17:4). Why would he want to make tabernacles for the prophets? While the Feast of Tabernacles was soon to come, it is likely that the suggestion stems from what Peter saw, i.e. the same Millennial celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles that Zechariah described. If we had the whole account, we would likely find out that Peter saw the grandeur of the Second Coming and the subsequent annual celebrations in Jerusalem. If so, his suggestion to make tabernacles on the mount makes much more sense.
Every nation round about Jerusalem, shall come up from year to year, to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, at Jerusalem, and also to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. There will be a great many of those solemn assemblies and feasts that were commanded in ancient times, that will be reestablished in the midst of Israel when they shall return. And the Lord Jesus will be there. (Journal of Discourses, 20:153)
Zechariah 14:17-18 whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem
We see then that the nations of the earth around about Jerusalem will be under the necessity, by the law which God has ordained, to fulfil these prophecies, to go up once a year for the purpose of beholding Jesus sitting upon his throne in the midst of Jerusalem, and of beholding the twelve Apostles as they sit upon their thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. From year to year they will have to go up for the purpose of worshiping him. By and by some of them, perhaps, will get it into their hearts that there is no use in their going up. "What is the use of our taking this long journey to Jerusalem?" and they will begin to say within their hearts-"We can serve God here in our own land just as well as going up to Jerusalem." Just as soon as they begin to apostatize in this way the Lord will send a plague, a famine, that is, withhold the rains of heaven, so that their lands will be parched up, and if the family of Egypt, that have no rain, refuse to go up, there will be a peculiar plague set apart for them, namely, the same kind of a plague that will come upon the various nations that gather up against Jerusalem to battle just before the Lord comes and stands his feet upon the Mount of Olives. It will be no judgment, no calamity whatever for no rain to be given to the land of Egypt, because they depend on the waters of the Nile, by irrigation they overflow the land, hence it is no particular consequence to the people of Lower Egypt to have no rain. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 14: 352)
Zechariah 14:20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD
The word of the Lord is precious; and when we read that the veil spread over all nations will be destroyed, and the pure in heart see God, and reign with Him a thousand years on earth, we want all honest men to have a chance to gather and build up a city of righteousness, where even upon the bells of the horses shall be written "Holiness to the Lord." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 93)