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Zechariah 14:4, Premillennialism

Victor M. Eskew


            The theory of Premillennialism teaches that Jesus will return and set foot upon the earth.  Once here, He will set up a kingdom on the earth.  He will rule this kingdom from the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem.

            One of the proof-texts used to support their theory is Zechariah 14:3-4, which states:  “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.  And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”  In an article, entitled “Zechariah 14:  Preteristic or Pre-millennial?”, Brian Simmons comments on this text:  “On the other hand, if he meant a personal coming, could he have described it any better?  For the planting of Divine feet upon a mountain certainly denotes a personal visitation.  Therefore accepting the language of Scripture as absolute and authoritative, we conclude that the coming of Christ described in Zechariah 14 will definitely be personal, and will constitute the fulfillment of Acts 1:11, in which it was revealed by the angelic sources that the Lord will return in ‘like manner’ as the apostles saw him ascend into heaven – that is personally and bodily” (bsimmons74.wordpress.com).

            If Zechariah 14:4 refers to the Second Coming of Christ, then the Old Testament prophet contradicts the words of an apostle of Christ found in I Thessalonians 4:16-17.  Paul, too, speaks of the Lord’s return.  He teaches that when the Lord comes, “…the dead in Christ shall rise first:  then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:  and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  The saints meet the Lord “in the air.”  It is there, in the air, they will ever be with the Christ.  Paul does not have the feet of Jesus being planted on the earth.

            If Zechariah is not literal, it is figurative.  Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. states:  “This is dramatic, apocalyptic, theophanic imagery of God’s great power and intervention in worldly affairs” (againstdispensationalism.blogspot.com, “Zechariah 14 and Prophetic Symbolism”).  Brother Foy E. Wallace, Jr. believed that the prophet saw the Lord’s coming judgment upon the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.  On page 247 of his book, God’s Prophetic Word, Wallace states:  “The prophetic declaration that ‘his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives which is before Jerusalem, does not refer to the second coming of Christ but rather to the siege of Jerusalem.  Jesus stood with his feet upon the mount of Olives when he uttered the doom of the city.  The Roman general stood on the Mount of Olives when Jerusalem was besieged.  The formation of the battle lines, entrenchments and redoubts, the circumvallations of the Romans, all enter into the graphic description and portrayal of the prophet that the mount should ‘cleave in the midst’ and ‘toward the north’ and ‘toward the south’” (p. 247).