THE PROPHECY OF ZECHARIAH AND THE MERCY OF GOD (Part 15)
The Festival Of Booths
“Everyone who is left remaining out of all the nations that come against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to bow down to the King, Jehovah of armies, and to celebrate the Festival of Booths” (Zechariah 14:16)
This text shows without a shadow of a doubt that Jehovah will have spared an important part of humanity who symbolically “come against Jerusalem” or would not be part of this holy city (at first time), coming out of the great tribulation. On the other hand in the prophecy of Ezekiel chapters 40 to 48, here is what is written about the Jehovah’s reproach against the Levites, a significant part of the great crowd, who will have survived the great tribulation: “But the Levites who strayed far from me when Israel strayed from me to follow their disgusting idols will bear the consequences of their error. And they will become ministers in my sanctuary to oversee the gates of the temple and to minister at the temple. They will slaughter the whole burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they will stand before the people to minister to them. Because they ministered to them before their disgusting idols and became a stumbling block causing the house of Israel to sin, that is why I have raised my hand against them in an oath,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘and they will bear the consequences of their error. They will not approach me to serve as my priests or approach any of my holy or most holy things, and they will bear their shame because of the detestable things that they did. But I will make them caretakers of the responsibilities of the temple, to take care of its service and all the things that should be done in it’” (Ezekiel 44:10–14).
There is, it seems, a convergence between this text and Zechariah 14:16, which mentions people who will have survived the great tribulation as they came “against Jerusalem” and the Levites who followed their “disgusting idols” (Ezekiel 44:10). Jesus Christ made an important statement which shows that sin in error does not always incur spiritual death: “Jesus said to them: “If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, ‘We see.’ Your sin remains”” (John 9:41). Jesus Christ speaks of unintentional spiritual blindness, the sin of which is not counted. Many people today are in involuntary spiritual blindness, according to this text, many of them could benefit from the mercy of God on the day of the great tribulation.
It is interesting to note, according to this same prophecy of Ezekiel, how the Sons of Zadok are described, in contrast with the non-priestly Levites: “As for the Levitical priests, the sons of Zaʹdok, who took care of the responsibilities of my sanctuary when the Israelites strayed from me, they will approach me to minister to me, and they will stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood,’ declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. ‘They are the ones who will enter my sanctuary, and they will approach my table to minister to me, and they will take care of their responsibilities to me’” (Ezekiel 44:15,16). Obviously, the Sons of Zadok who will approach Jehovah as priests, in the spiritual sanctuary, will be faithful and discreet Christians who will have well performed in their Christian ministry in the old system of things, “when the Israelites strayed from God”, and will have survived the great tribulation (Matthew 24:45,46; 25:21,22).
This understanding, at first glance, seems at odds with the vision of the great crowd which survived the great tribulation and whole, manifesting their faith in the atonement value of Christ’s sacrifice (Revelation 7:9,14). This difference is biblically easily resolved by an important information given in the prophecy of Zechariah, regarding this spared third part of humanity. It is written: “And I will bring the third part through the fire; And I will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people,’ And they will say, ‘Jehovah is our God’” (Zechariah 13: 9; Malachi 3:2–4). When should this essential refinement take place in order to continue living in paradise? According to Zechariah’s prophecy and Revelation (11:19), Jehovah’s Day will be on Ethanim (Tishri) 10. According to Ezekiel’s prophecy 39:12–14, there will be a seven months cleansing of the earth, from Tishri (Ethanim), 10, to Nisan, 10 (with the intercalary month of Veadar). It seems obvious that it is in this time, that Jehovah will “refine his people”, in order to prepare it for the coming to earth, of the New Jerusalem on Nisan, 10, following the great tribulation.
In Ezekiel 40:1,2, the vision of the temple city on earth, is on the date of Nisan, 10, which is the beginning of the earthly administration of the Kingdom of God. It corresponds to the description of the descent of New Jerusalem to Earth, in Nisan, 10 (Revelation 21:1–4). The vision of Revelation 7:9,14, of the great crowd which survived the great tribulation, is in Nisan, 10, by comparison with the text of John 12:12–16: “The next day the large crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, and they began to shout: “Save, we pray you! Blessed is the one who comes in Jehovah’s name, the King of Israel!””. If we compare this text with Revelation 7:9, it is a striking resemblance. What is the evidence that in John 12:12–16, Jesus Christ did indeed come as king into Jerusalem on Nisan, 10? A text that describes the same event informs us that immediately after, Jesus Christ drove out the merchants from the temple who were selling animals for the Passover (Matthew 21:10,11). When the Israelites had to buy the Passover lamb? In Nisan, 10: “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth day of this month, they should each take for themselves a sheep for their father’s house, a sheep to a house” (Exodus 12:3).
The description of the judgment by the King Jesus Christ, in Matthew 7: 21–23 and 25: 31–46, is mainly directed at the Christian congregation, because in the two quotes indicated, the people who have a judgment of condemnation seem to know Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:22; 25:44). The framework criteria for judging all of humanity, Christian and non-Christian, seem summarized in Jehovah’s words in Ezekiel 9:4: “Jehovah said to him: “Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who are sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done in the city”” (Compare with James 4:4). Nevertheless, this destruction and selective preservation of the whole of humanity is also described by Jesus Christ: “Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken along and the other abandoned. Two women will be grinding at the hand mill; one will be taken along and the other abandoned” (Matthew 24:40,41) (Either one in two, will survive (repeated twice by Jesus Christ)).
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