In our on-going study of Zechariah 14 and its influence on New Testament eschatology, we want now to examine this great chapter and what it says about the resurrection of the dead.
ZECHARIAH 14 AND THE RESURRECTION
Some Christian commentators seem to see no correlation between Zechariah 14 and the resurrection. Allison has shown however, that early Jewish commentators did make such a connection. (See Dale Allison Jr., The End of the Ages Has Come, (Grand Rapids, Fortress Press, 1985)44).
If Zechariah 14 predicted the resurrection then since this great chapter unequivocally speaks of the AD 70 coming of the Lord (v.1-5) this constitutes prima facia proof for the resurrection at the end of the Old Covenant World of Israel and not at the end of time.
Zechariah 14 does speak of the time of the resurrection. This can be shown by demonstrating that the elements found in Zechariah are associated in other passages with resurrection.
RESURRECTION AND THE RIVER OF LIFE – ESTABLISHING THE CONNECTION
In verse 8, Zechariah predicted that at the coming of the Lord with his saints (vs. 5) a fountain of living waters would flow from Jerusalem. See our last article. This River of Life is most assuredly associated with resurrection life.
In Ezekiel 47 the prophet foretold the same river of life flowing from the Temple/Jerusalem. That river would flow eastward from Jerusalem–compare how in Zechariah 14 the River also flows eastward. Everywhere that river would flow it would bring life to that which was dead (Ezekiel 47:1-12). This is undeniably resurrection life.
In Revelation 20-22 John depicts the resurrection followed by the New Jerusalem from which the River of Life flows (22:1-3). The River of Life is in the New Jerusalem after the destruction of Old “Babylon,” the city where the Lord was crucified (Revelation 11:8). Zechariah places the River of Life in Jerusalem after the Old Jerusalem is besieged and taken (Zechariah 14:1-2).
The River of Life and the resurrection are clearly inextricably linked. Since Zechariah 14 predicted the opening of the River of Life then Zechariah 14 predicted the resurrection.
ZECHARIAH 14, “THE CURSE”, AND RESURRECTION
After the coming of the Lord in judgment Zechariah says “there shall be no more curse, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely” (Zechariah 14:11). The elimination of the “curse” is a concept directly associated with resurrection.
The “curse” actually goes back to the Garden of Eden, of course and God’s promise concerning the forbidden fruit “in the day you eat thereof, you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17). They ate; they died. God promised that one day the seed of woman would crush Satan and thus remove that curse (Genesis 3:15). The destruction of the Curse is the object of the New Heaven and Earth where “the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying” (Isaiah 65:19). Paul said that victory was at hand (Romans 16:20). Note that Gentry even admits: “Romans 16:20 hearkens back to the Adamic Covenant.”(Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion, (Tyler, Tx., Institute for Christian Economics, 1992)113.
It should go without saying that if Romans 16 was promising the imminent destruction of Satan, in fulfillment of the Adamic Covenant, then the end of the millennium was near. The resurrection was near. Gentry’s admission is, in fact, fatal to any view of futurist eschatology.
Of course, what Dominionists normally do is to claim that while what Paul was saying was in fact imminent, and probably referred to the events of AD 70, the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 was a typological foreshadowing of the real end of the age that is yet future.
In my formal debate with Joel McDurmon (July 2012), when Romans 16:20 came up, Joel engaged in a discussion of how scripture shows in several OT examples, how “Satan” the adversary of God at any given time, was defeated. He then insisted that while Paul was saying the defeat of Satan was near, he did not have the “real” crushing of Satan in mind, but, an event that pointed forward to the real end. Be sure to get a copy of that debate. You can order it here.
Be sure to read my book, AD 70: A Shadow of the “Real” End? for an in-depth refutation of the Dominionist claims that AD 70 foreshadowed the real end. This book is devastating against that view, and has quickly become one of our best selling titles. The bottom line is that there is simply no contextual justification for the Dominionist claims.
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Paul did not, in any way indicate that what was about to happen was typological. To the contrary, Paul and all NT writers tell us repeatedly, and emphatically, that they were living the very days foretold by the OT prophets, the days for the resurrection, the kingdom, the parousia (See Acts 3:21-24). And, this is fatal to McDurmon’s view. Paul is, very clearly, as Gentry notes, hearkening back to the Adamic promise– the promise of the “real” victory over Satan. And Paul said that victory was near.
In Isaiah 24 the prophet spoke of a coming destruction of “heaven and earth” because Israel had “broken the everlasting covenant.” As a direct result of the violation of her covenant Isaiah said “the curse has devoured the earth” (Isaiah 24:6). The “city of confusion” (Jerusalem) would be destroyed but Jehovah would reign gloriously “on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem” (Isaiah 24:23).
In chapter 25 the Lord promised that at the time of His coming in judgment against the wicked–when the city of confusion would be destroyed–He would “make for all the people a feast of choice pieces a feast of wines on the lees…and He will destroy on this mountain (Zion, DKP) the surface of the covering cast over all people and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever” (Isaiah 25:6-8). God would take away the curse when He destroyed death.
Please keep in mind that Isaiah depicts the destruction of one Jerusalem–the city of confusion–but he also depicts life and victory in Jerusalem. One city is under the curse; the other is freed from that curse. Freedom from that curse would be when God swallowed up death. This is the promise of the resurrection because in 1 Corinthians 15:54-56 Paul quotes Isaiah 25:8 in his prediction of the resurrection. Thus deliverance from “the curse” equaled deliverance from death, i.e. resurrection.
Like Isaiah, Zechariah predicted the destruction of one Jerusalem but he also predicted that Jerusalem would be the center of worship and “there shall be no more curse” (Zechariah 14:11) in this New Jerusalem. Since deliverance from the “curse” represented resurrection then Zechariah 14 clearly predicted the resurrection. This is corroborated in Revelation.
In the Apocalypse John predicted the destruction of Old Jerusalem, the city guilty of shedding all the blood on the earth (Revelation 18:20-24). Compare Matthew 23:29-36. Following this judgment scene the New Jerusalem descends from God out of heaven (Revelation 21:1-3). In chapter 22:3 John says that in this New Jerusalem “there shall be no more curse” a direct quote from Zechariah 14:11. (Philip Carrington, The Meaning of Revelation, (SPCK, 1931) 271; Also R. T. France, Jesus and the Old Testament, (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1982)209, and others have noted that Revelation 22:3 is a direct quote of Zechariah 14:11).
John depicts the time when the curse would be destroyed as “resurrection” time.
His prophecy of that wonderful time is a quote from Zechariah 14:11.
Therefore Zechariah 14:11 predicted the time of the resurrection.
We will have more on Zechariah 14 and the resurrection in the next article, so stay tuned!