The Day of the Lord as in

Zechariah and Malachi








The Prophecies of Zechariah and Malachi are a part of that more sure word of prophecy whereunto we do well to take heed as unto a light shining in a dark place - this evil world of sin, darkness, and woe.






Now to begin with, I think it is well to have in our minds a little outline concerning the Prophets of Israel in their relation to the time of the captivity of Israel in Babylon.



Jeremiah prophesied before the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity; Ezekiel and Daniel prophesied during that period; and Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi prophesied after the return from captivity.  Ezra and Nehemiah are the historical Books relating to the resettlement of Israel in their own land and give descriptions of their difficulties and afflictions and rejoicings.



We learn from these historical books how, after their return to their land again an altar was erected.  They offered unto the Lord thanksgiving and sacrifice for His mercies in bringing them back to the land of their fathers.  Also, the foundation of the Temple was then laid, but due to difficulties and persecutions from the Samaritans around, the people grew discouraged and weary and left off building the Temple of the Lord and turned to elaborate their own dwellings.



Because of this, the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah were sent to stir up the people to complete the Lord’s house, and although the Temple which they had started to build was insignificant as compared with Solomon’s Temple, Haggai and Zechariah assured the people that God would take pleasure in their labours, and they were given rich promises of restoration and of blessing if they continued faithful.



The Structure of the Prophecy



Regarding the structure of this book of the prophecy of Zechariah, there are eight visions which God gave to the prophet to record, and these are found in chapters 1 - 6, while chapters 7-14 record more direct statements of prophecy.  We also find in the visions and the promises connected with them, that they go beyond their immediate application to Israel at that time, and thus unfold end time conditions, and God’s judgements on the wicked, and His final purposes of grace to His own repentant Israel in a yet future day.  This is illustrated in Haggai’s prophecy (chapter 2: 4-9) not yet fulfilled, where the shaking of the heavens and of the earth are mentioned which is reserved for the Day of God’s judgement and wrath at the return of the Lord from heaven; the third vision of Zechariah may also be mentioned as clearly depicting future Millennial blessing.



It is always important to remember that sometimes prophecies have a double fulfilment.  We see this in connection with Joel’s prophecy in chapter 2 of his book.  Peter refers to this on the Day of Pentecost.  Truly, Pentecost was an earnest of this, but how brief!  And the final or complete fulfilment is to be in the “Day of the Lord”, when the Lord will be once again in the midst of His people Israel, and when they as God’s priests and Ministers will dispense justice and truth and healing in the earth.



Its Opening Message



In the opening words of the Prophet Zechariah before the visions are enlarged upon we find how God through His servant first calls the people to repentance (verse 3), and this is exactly how both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus began their message and ministry to the nation of Israel.  They both came saying “Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand” (Matthew 3: 2; Mark 1: 5).  This is the only ground upon which God can truly bless His people, and Zechariah bids them take warning.  They were not to be as their fathers who had provoked God’s displeasure and who had set at nought His Prophets (v. 4).  They, their fathers, suffered God’s judgement by being sent into captivity, and of this calamity they themselves were partakers (vv. 5, 6).  God’s anger had indeed been turned away; their fathers had suffered the judgement of God.  Let not the people incur God’s anger again.



We also read in verse one of the actual time when the prophet received this Word of the Lord.  It was in the eighth month in the second year of Darius the king; and it was exactly two months before, in the sixth month of the second year of the same king that Haggai began to prophesy.



We pass on to verse 3 of this first chapter of Zechariah where we have the term “The Lord of Hosts and in passing I would just state that this majestic Name is used no fewer than 80 times by these last three Prophets of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi; and note again, it is “Thus saith the Lord of hosts”.  It is evidently to inspire the people with confidence that God was greater than all their outward circumstances, however great and powerful were their enemies.



Then in verses 5 and 6 we have the questions “Your fathers, where are they?  And the prophets, do they live for ever?  Their lives were of short duration but My words and My statutes, in contrast remain.  Did they (that is God’s words) not overtake your fathers?  Yes truly, and in judgement, and they turned, but not in repentance; only to acknowledge that their afflictions were from the hand of God”.  The literality of the judgement was too apparent to deny; they recognised that they had reaped what they had sown and said, “according to our doings so hath He dealt with us”.



Now since my subject is concerning “the Day of the Lord” which is yet to dawn, I must pass over the visions which are described from verse 7 of chapter 1 to the end of chapter 6, and concentrate our thoughts more upon chapters 7-14, and also briefly refer to the Prophet Malachi.  This of course is a vast subject and therefore one can only summarise some of the most important details of these latter chapters.



In chapter 7 we find that nearly two years had elapsed since that memorable night on which the series of the eight visions were shown to the Prophet - in which were unfolded in a wonderful panorama the thoughts and purposes of God concerning Israel and the nations from the beginning to the very end of this age.  Then the word of Jehovah came again to Zechariah.



Again the day, the month and the year of the Divine Oracle are clearly given as being the fourth year of King Darius.  Thus it would be about two years after Haggai had stirred up the people to re-commence the building of the Lord’s house, and about two years before the house was finished. Ezra 6: 15; Hag. 1: 1-15.



At this time, a deputation comes from Bethel to the elders of Israel regarding the continuation of fast days which the nation had instituted while they were in Babylon.



Their enquiry was, need the people continue to keep these fasts and afflict their souls in memory of their former calamities, namely the invasion of their land and destruction of their Temple by Nebuchadnezzar?



The Cause of Israel’s Calamity and

Promise of Future Blessing



The Prophet Zechariah however, who spoke to them in the Name of the Lord did not answer them directly, and the first part of the prophetic discourse as contained in this chapter was intended to bring home to them and the nation the cause of their former and present sad and reduced circumstances.  The cause of their low estate was moral, the perverting of justice, oppression of the poor, and their hardness of heart.  It was because of these things that they had been scattered with a whirlwind, and their land made desolate.  The causes were divinely reiterated.  It was of their own making.  So with God’s condemnation of the nation the chapter ends, but as it is seen so often in these prophetical passages, after the condemnation of His people Israel, the Lord affirms that His love will not utterly depart from them - there is always a remnant.



And this prophetical discourse continues in chapter 8 with gracious promises that He will yet save His people and be their God in Truth and Righteousness, resulting in world-wide blessings.



This same climax of blessing is found in chapters 1-6, 9-10, and 12-14; in other words, throughout the whole Book.  In wrath, God ever remembers mercy.



Restoration and Blessing



And so we have the closing words, verses 20-23, in chapter 8 declaring “It shall yet come to pass that there shall come peoples and the inhabitants of many cities saying, Let us go speedily to pray and seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem. ... In those days, ten men out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you for we have heard that God is with you”.  Such words imply eagerness and assurance for the Lord will take away the reproach of His people Israel from off the whole earth.  Instead of being a byword among the nations they will be held in high esteem as Isaiah 25: 8 definitely declares.



The nations will then realise that their fathers have inherited lies and vanities, and that God’s favour rests upon Israel (Jer. 16: 19), and as the priests and ministers of God, Israel shall teach the people knowledge.  They will bring peace and healing to all nations.  Such will be the power of the age to come.



We pass on to chapter 9 and here it is reiterated like each of the passages already noted that much is beyond the then present circumstances or contemporary history, and culminates in the time when Israel shall be brought to true repentance and will return unto the Lord, never more to be forsaken, neither their land again made desolate.



Although some of the expressions in this chapter as indeed in other chapters in this book may seem somewhat obscure, yet the general trend of events is clear, and especially as they accord with the prophetical passages in the New Testament concerning the end of this age.  Take such words as we have in verse 10And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off”.  These things will not be needed by Israel, not even for their final deliverance from the hosts of Antichrist.  Their deliverance will not be by munitions of war but by the Spirit of God, and the Lord’s intervention on their behalf.



True Peace and Rest



And He shall speak peace unto the nations”.  How parallel are such words with Isa. 2: 1-4, “The swords shall be beaten into plowshares, the spears into pruning hooks, neither shall they learn war anymore”.  And Psalm 86: 9, “All nations which Thou hast made, shall come and all shall be brought low before Thee and shall glorify Thy Name”.  And His dominion shall be from sea to sea and from the river (Euphrates) even to the ends of the earth”.  He shall save the souls of the needy and redeem them from deceit and violence” (Psalm 72).



And as to spiritual life, it will still be peace through the blood of His Cross, and through Israel God’s Gospel will be declared to all nations.



Verse 14.And the Lord shall be seen over them, and His arrow shall go forth as lightning”.  And in the Isaiah 63 context with Zech. 14: 3 we read of how the Lord will fight for them, when He comes from heaven glorious in apparel, the day of vengeance in His heart “for the year of His redeemed is come”.



And the Lord God shall blow the trumpet”.  How fitting are such words with the New Testament passages “The Trump of God” (1. Thess. 4: 15-18) and “the last Trump” (1. Cor. 15: 52), linked with Rev. 11, 15-18 when resurrection and reward to saints takes place and God’s wrath follows on the ungodly and “the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ”.



And shall go with whirlwinds of the South”.  The elements of nature shall be used to effect God’s judgements.  The Sun darkened, the Moon as blood, the heavens departing as a scroll, mountains and islands removed out of their places are accompaniments of the Lord’s second Advent as confirmed by Revelation chapters 6 and 7 and Hebrews 12.



For how great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty” (v. 17).



Such will be the words used by converted Israel in this Day of the Lord’s Glory as they receive this manifestation of His grace and the fulfilment of His immutable promises as recorded in Jeremiah 31 and 32, as they behold Him in His beauty - who once saw “no beauty in Him, that they should desire Him”.



True Contrition and Confidence

in the Messiah



But in that Day, Israel, when they first look on Him whom their nation once pierced and despised, shall be brought to mourn and lament for Him, with deep contrition of heart as the words of chapter 12 verse 10-14 state.  But their mourning shall be turned to rejoicing, for the Lord shall preserve them during the brief time following His glorious coming, while the vials of wrath are poured out on the wicked.  Then He will make Himself known to His brethren in everlasting embrace, nevermore to be pulled out of their land.  And I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel ... And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord.” (Amos 9: 14 and 15).



Now may I just draw your attention to verses 4-7 of chapter 10.



In verse 4 we read “From him”; that is from Judah as the preceding verse shows; “from him shall come forth the Corner Stone, from him the Nail, from him the Battle Bow, from him every Exactor, or Ruler, together.”  Here we have four Messianic Titles of dignity and judgement.  From him (Judah the royal tribe from which our Lord sprang), the One, God laid in Zion for a foundation stone, a tried stone, a precious Corner Stone, a sure foundation.  These are expressions giving varied aspects of the dignity and glory that belong to the Lord Jesus Christ (Isa. 28: 16).  We may also call to mind the somewhat similar figure given in Daniel 2, vv. 44, 45, The Stone cut out without hands which shall destroy and consume all the kingdoms of this world, so that His Kingdom of peace and righteousness shall stand for ever.



From him (Judah) the Nail fastened in a sure place and upon whom shall hang all the glory of His Father’s house. (Isa. 22: 20 - 25).



From him (Judah) the Battle-Bow.  The Lord is a man of war. He will not let the wicked go unpunished.  He will come in all His strength to save all the meek of the earth.  Psalm 76, 7-9.  His wrath will be poured out (Isa. 63: 1) upon the ungodly, upon Antichrist and all his evil hosts.



From him (Judah) every Exactor or Ruler together.  All ruling power and authority united in Himself - both Kingship and royal Priesthood as Psalm 110 makes clear; and all who do not submit themselves shall perish.



And They (Israel) shall be as mighty men, treading down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle.  And they shall fight because the Lord is with them and the riders on horses shall be confounded.  Such words again confirm how Israel will be empowered to overcome their enemies in the final conflict when they shall no more be pulled out of their land.  They shall be as mighty men confounding their enemies.  God’s promises of deliverance include all the tribes, as Judah and Joseph and Ephraim suggests, and in that Day they shall be one in heart and purpose. (Ezek. 37).



They of Ephraim, shall be like a mighty man ... yea their children shall see it, and rejoice; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord” on account of His mercies and deliverance.



V. 12I will strengthen them in the Lord”.  On this bright note the chapter ends “And they shall walk up and down in His Name saith the Lord: subdued and conscious of God’s mercy and none shall make them afraid.” (Micah 4: 1-4).



Divine Events in that Future Day



We thus arrive at the last three chapters of this prophecy.  These chapters 12-14, link together events connected with “That Day” the expression so often used in the prophetic scriptures in reference to “The Day of the Lord” which embraces the 1,000 years of sabbattic rest in contrast to “Man’s day” of misrule and oppression which has now continued nearly 6,000 years.  It is the “last day” spoken of in John’s Gospel chapter 6 (mentioned four times); the day of resurrection unto life when the Lord takes control and [dead] saints [will] enter into their rest* and judgement follows upon the ungodly (2 Thess. 1).  We can only give a very brief outline of these three last chapters.  Chapter 12 sets forth God’s Sovereignty over all creation, and reminds us of the immutability of His promises to Israel.


[* See Heb. 4: 1, 6-8, 11. cf. 2 Pet. 3: 14, 17; Psa. 95:8-11.]



Jerusalem is spoken of as a burdensome stone to all nations who intermeddle with her policy.  God not only gives deliverance to his people Israel from their outward enemies but also saves them from internal strife.  His Holy Spirit mightily works within them resulting in a humbled and repentant people made conscious of their nation’s sin and of their own evil heart of unbelief.



Chapter 13 speaks of how in this Day of the Lord there will be a fountain opened for sin and uncleanness to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; how idolatry and false prophets will be exposed and cast out from the land.  And we see the process of God’s saving work with His people Israel; how that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die.  And I will bring the third part through the fire and will refine them as silver is refined and will try them as gold is tried; solemn words of discriminative judgement.  The Lord, however, will preserve the remnant who will be brought through His refining fires, and to repentance when they will once more become His people, and become a praise and blessing in the earth nevermore to be cast away as confirmed by Jer. 33; Amos 9 and Zeph. 3.



At that time, even as the chapter ends, the Lord will say “It is My people and Israel shall say, The Lord is My God”.



And this brings us to our last chapter wherein is brought before us how all nations will be gathered against Jerusalem at this time, and how the city will be taken.  It also records how the Lord will come and deliver His people Israel from their enemies, overcoming them, and establishing His [millennial] kingdom of Peace and Righteousness in the earth; how there will be geographical changes in the land and in the service and worship of the Lord; how in that Day the Lord shall descend from heaven and His feet shall stand upon the mount of Olives which shall cleave into two, one part moving toward the north and the other toward the south, causing a very great valley between its two parts.  This glorious consummation and Coming of the Lord with all* His Saints and mighty Angels is referred to in Matt. 24: 30-31; 2 Thess. 2: 7-10 and Rev. 19: 11-16.  It will be the time when He shall gather His elect (the church) from the four winds; from one end of heaven to the other.  It will also be the time when the last trump, the trumpet of God, shall be sounded (1 Cor. 15: 52; 1 Thess. 4: 16; Rev. 11: 15-18; Matt. 24: 31), when the first resurrection - the resurrection of the just and reward to saints takes place; with judgement to follow on the ungodly.*  It shall be one day, known unto the Lord, not day nor night (reminding us of Matt. 24: 36), but at evening time it shall be light (v. 7).  And in that Day living waters shall go out from Jerusalem (v. 8) (Psalm 46: 4; 65: 9; Ezek. 47: 1-12).  A river making glad the City of God”.


[* See Luke 14: 14. cf. 22: 28-30; Rev. 2: 26, 27; 3: 21, 22, etc. and always keep in mind:-


Christ will give the crown to none but the worthy.  And are we fit for the crown, before we have overcome?  Or for the prize, before we have won the race?  Or to be rulers of ten cities, before we have achieved our ten talents?  Or to enter into the joy of our Lord, before we have well done, as good and faithful servants?  God will not alter the course of justice to give you rest [i.e., the ‘rest’ mentioned in Heb. 4: 1 and Psa. 95: 11.] before you have laboured nor the crown of glory till you have overcome.” - Baxter.


There is one overwhelming proof that no believer will enter the Millennial Kingdom simply on the ground, and merely for the reason, that he is a child of God.  This proof is very simple but very profound.  Our Lord Himself does notAs the Eternal Son of God, Jesus is King of all kings and Lord of all worlds; and this Sonship is not the reason for which He is millennially enthroned.  It is solely on His life and service as the Son of Man - His renunciation, His fidelity, His laid-down life - that God Himself lays the whole reason of His exaltation in the Kingdom that immediately follows the Second Advent; and simultaneously this fact reveals the truth of tremendous importance that our entrance into the Millennial Kingdom is on identical grounds.” - Panton.]



The True King



And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.  In that Day shall there be One Lord and His Name Onev. 9.  No longer, “god’s many and lord’s many”.



The nations shall realise that their idols are vanity and less than vanity and that they have inherited lies.  The satanic veil of superstition and idolatry shall be taken away. (Isa. 25: 7; 1 Cor. 8: 5).



The Session of the Ancient of Days will have taken place, and the Son of Man given dominion and glory and a kingdom that will not pass away, that all peoples and nations and languages shall serve Him (Dan. 7: 13, 14). Truly, then, will a King be reigning in perfect Righteousness as Isaiah 32: 1 states and it shall be fulfilled, “The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1: 31-33).  V. 21: “And in that Day” there shall be no more the Canaanite (or merchant) in the house of the Lord, for then will be designated everything as “Holiness unto the Lord”, when Israel as a nation will be conscious of God’s grace, loving Truth and Righteousness.



*       *       *



Now very briefly I must just refer to the Prophet Malachi.  The name Malachi means “My Messenger”.  This is the last of the Old Testament Prophecies and Malachi was to Nehemiah what Haggai and Zechariah were to Zerrubbabel.



Following a period of revival after the return from captivity in Babylon, the people of Israel had become indifferent and morally lax and this is the state of things which Malachi rebukes.  The heart of hope in the prophecy is in chapter 3 verses 10-18 where we read, “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord and that thought upon His Name.



And they shall be mine saith the Lord of Hosts, in that Day when I make up my jewels, or special treasure, and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.  Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not”.



And chapter 4 continues, “For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea all that do wickedly, shall be as stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.



But unto you that fear My Name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings, and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.  And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this saith the Lord of hosts”.






As already mentioned Israel in their previous kingdom failed, and the kingdom was taken away from them.  The Church, likewise once manifestly the body of Christ on earth fell away and did not continue in the unity, the faith, and the discipline which God gave for its continuance.  But redeemed Israel in the age to come is to continue in faith and power, an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations, and unlike this age they shall fill the earth with fruit even as the apostle exclaims “How much more their fullness Romans 11: 12.



All these consolatory announcements given to Israel show clearly thatJehovah is jealous for Zion [not heaven] with great jealousyand will return to Jerusalem with mercies; and that not only will the people be restored and the land rebuilt, but that He Himself will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem which shall be known as “the City of Truth and The Holy Mountain - the centre to which the Gentile nations shall come to seek Jehovah and be taught His way.



(The substance of an Address given at Alliance Hall, Westminster, June 1975).