9 The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.
10 The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up high from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses, and will remain in its place. 11 It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.
(Zechariah 14:9-11 NIV)
As we saw in our last time together, the Lord gives us a glimpse into the end of the world as we know it. The countries of the world show up at Israel’s borders and overtake the country. After they kill two-thirds of the people there, they zero in on the city of Jerusalem, their final conquest.
God says that these enemy countries will overtake Jerusalem, then stop and count their plunder. Just when it seems that Jerusalem is about to be wiped from the pages of history and forgotten forever, God shows up.
Jesus arrives on the scene. As He steps out of heaven onto the Mount of Olives, the entire earth shakes with a record-breaking earthquake. The Mount of Olives splits in two, a valley appears between the two mountains, and God leads the Jewish remnant through this newly-formed way of escape. The earth goes dark – no sun, moon, or stars for light; at the evening, God’s glory provides the illumination for the earth. Fresh spring water flows out of Jerusalem, both to the Mediterranean and to the Dead Sea.
As we open today’s text, we see even more changes.
First, Jesus is crowned King of the world.
Not just king of heaven.
Not just king of Israel and Judah.
Not just king of Jerusalem.
King of the whole world.
Take a moment. Can you imagine that coronation ceremony? It is hard to get our heads and minds around something that big and that grand.
The Lord says that on that day, there will only be one name spoken – that of Jesus. All the other kings and rulers, all of God’s enemies will speak not of themselves or their countries or armies – only the name of Jesus.
The Apostle Paul sums up this event so well:
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:9-11 NIV)
Okay, I don’t know about you, but I can stop right here at the end of verse 9.
But that’s not all.
Verse 10 says that all the earth around Jerusalem shrinks down to the level of the Arabah valley, leaving the city of Jerusalem sticking up as a high mesa. This will be Jesus’ throne, sitting on the plateau, overlooking all the earth in every direction.
To put this in perspective, the Mount of Olives is about 2,700 feet above sea level. The Arabah valley (at its lowest point) is 1,300 feet below sea level (at the Dead Sea). Scientists tell us that the Arabah valley is the deepest land valley in the world. Depending on how low the ground around Jerusalem shrinks down, Jerusalem could be as much as one-half to three-quarters of a mile higher than all the surrounding land.
Does the land around Jerusalem shrink away at the same time as the earthquake when Jesus steps onto the Mount of Olives? Or is this a separate event that takes place when Jesus is crowned king of the world? The text does not say.
And what happens next? Something the world has longed for but never seen, has prayed for but never experienced.
Jerusalem will be inhabited, never to be destroyed again. Jerusalem will be secure.
This gives new meaning to the bumper sticker prayer, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”, doesn’t it?
Come, Lord Jesus, come.