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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The nations will then realise that their fathers have
inherited lies and vanities, and that God’s favour rests upon
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
10 “And I will cut off the
chariot from Ephraim and the horse from
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 (
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
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
Now may I just draw your attention to verses 4-7 of chapter 10.
In verse 4
we read “From
him”; that is from
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 (
“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. 12 “I 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
[* See Heb. 4: 1, 6-8, 11. cf. 2 Pet. 3: 14, 17; Psa. 95:8-11.]
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
At that time, even as the chapter ends, the Lord will say “It is My
And this brings us to our last chapter wherein is brought
before us how all nations will be gathered against
[* 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 True King
“And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that Day shall there be One Lord and His Name One” v. 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
* * *
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
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
All these consolatory announcements given to Israel show clearly that “Jehovah is jealous for Zion [not heaven] with great jealousy” and 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).