God has promised through multiple prophets that the great world empires of history, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and its modern-day derivatives, will all one day be replaced by a different kind of government led by God Himself, Jesus Christ.
But we are also warned that this final government will not come without birth pains. With a general lack of God-connection among people in the last days, this will allow them to be misled by one last global leader, the Antichrist. Without the spiritual discernment that God’s Spirit provides, Antichrist will be able to attract the masses with mesmerizing, devil-empowered signs and wonders.
This false god leader’s final act will be to draw all of the nations of the earth into a battle against Jerusalem. What initially looks like an easy victory for them will find the attackers coming up against God Himself. No army of any size could ever hope to overpower Him.
1 The word of the Lord concerning Israel.
A declaration of the Lord,
who stretched out the heavens,
laid the foundation of the earth,
and formed the spirit of man within him.
2 “Look, I will make Jerusalem a cup that causes staggering for the peoples who surround the city. The siege against Jerusalem will also involve Judah. 3 On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who try to lift it will injure themselves severely when all the nations of the earth gather against her. Zechariah 12:1-3 (HCSB)
Attacking Jerusalem will turn out to be a tremendous stumbling block. The invaders will be repelled by overwhelming divine retribution.
8 On that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that on that day the one who is weakest among them will be like David on that day, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the Lord, before them. 9 On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. Zechariah 12:8-9 (HCSB)
9 On that day Yahweh will become King over all the earth—Yahweh alone, and His name alone.
11 People will live there, and never again will there be a curse of complete destruction. So Jerusalem will dwell in security.
12 This will be the plague the Lord strikes all the peoples with, who have warred against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13 On that day a great panic from the Lord will be among them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of one will rise against the other. Zechariah 14:9,11-13 (HCSB)
In this remarkable victory, Jesus will be revealed to all of His people as the True and Victorious Messiah. All vestiges of human government will be eliminated, and a spirit of forgiveness and grace will be poured out upon the people.
10 “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at Me whom they pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for Him as one weeps for a firstborn. Zechariah 12:10 (HCSB)
It is hard to imagine what else the prophet Zechariah might be referring to other than a belated recognition of the Messianic credentials of the crucified Jesus Christ. Zechariah emphasizes the Lord’s mercy and grace being poured out without limit. God’s forgiveness of sins is extended today to all who come to faith in Christ, no matter what they have done in their past and how late their awakening may be.
1 “On that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the residents of Jerusalem, to wash away sin and impurity. 2 On that day”—this is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts—“I will erase the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered. I will remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land. Zechariah 13:1-2 (HCSB)
As the apostle Paul later wrote in the book of Romans:
25 So that you will not be conceited, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery: A partial hardening has come to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
The Liberator will come from Zion;
He will turn away godlessness from Jacob.
27 And this will be My covenant with them
when I take away their sins. Romans 11:25-27 (HCSB)
Jesus wondered if He would find faith when He returned from heaven. We know from the prophets that His return will come at a time of great world turmoil and rebellion against God, led by a powerful and deceiving Antichrist. But God has promised to prevail over all opposition, and that He will never forget His beloved,
29 since God’s gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable. Romans 11:29 (HCSB)
Lord, keep us strong in the faith and grant us patience and self-control to live a holy life through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Show us where we can be useful to You and to the growth of Your kingdom today. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.