The valley of promises

March 24, 2012

When Zechariah wrote, “And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains,” in Zechariah 14:5, it is as if he were to say, “And ye shall flee to the valley of promises,” as the mountains represent the promises of God to the saints in scripture.

The mountains are symbolic of the blessings that Jacob inherited, as shown in the blessing of Joseph in Genesis 49:26. Jacob said, “The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.” Mountains are prominent parts of the promised land. They are high, and lofty, and so they represent promises of a lofty spiritual nature, and they are durable, and so Jacob refers to “the everlasting hills.” His blessings were promises which were spiritual and eternal. Jesus confirmed that Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob will be in his kingdom, when he said to the Jews, “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.” [Luke 13:28]

Zechariah said, when the saints flee to the valley that forms between the two halves of the mount of Olives, when it is cleaved in the midst, and the two halves of the mountain are displaced to the north and to the south, “the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.” [Zechariah 14:4-5]

This is a promise; we can compare it to other related promises about the Lord coming. Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” [John 14:16-18]

The promise that Jesus will come is connected with the promise of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. John said, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [John 14:26]

In Zechariah’s prophecy, the statement “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives” was fulfilled when Jesus stood upon it, in his ministry, and when he gave the prophecy to his disciples upon the mountain recorded in Matthew 24. I suggest the two halves of the mount of Olives that are displaced are the two interpretations that have been applied to the prophecy, preterism and futurism. To flee to the valley between them means apply the prophecy of Matthew 24 to the whole age of the church, instead of to Jews in the first century, or Jews in a future seven year tribulation. In all ages of the church, Jesus has been present guiding the saints by his Spirit; in all centuries since the first, there have been deceivers, false Christs, wars and rumours of wars, famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. It is not unreasonable, to suppose that the prophecy Jesus gave upon the mount of Olives applies not just to the first century, but to all ages of the church.

The statement of Jesus in Matthew 24 verse 34, “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” makes sense when we acknowledge that Jesus himself represents that generation; he remains alive. Jesus knew when he spoke of this generation that he would be killed and that he would rise up from the grave, to inherit David’s throne and that he would remain alive forever. Since he belongs to that generation, it is unique, as it has not passed away, and never will.

In Matthew 24:30, Jesus speaks of his coming “in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Now, here are three different references to his coming, one in Zechariah 14:5, one in John 14:18, and one in Matthew 24:30. There is at least a possibility they all refer to the same event. A wonderful and unique opportunity for the church is presented by the figurative cleaving of the mount of Olives, and the separation of the two halves of the mountain from each other; if on the one hand, some preterists could let go their mantra, and that narrow-minded view of the comment of Jesus about this generation, and their claim that all prophecy has been fulfilled already, and open their eyes, and go to that metaphorical valley, and if futurists and dispensationalists could shift their position, that insists on following the views of John N. Darby, who claimed that much of Bible prophecy applies to Jews in a future seven year tribulation, and virtually none of it to the church; and if they joined up with those preterists who also flee to the valley between those extremes, they could lessen the gap that separates them, or even abolish it, and find themselves on common ground; maybe it would be a good experience for all. Then, perhaps, that promise will come to pass, that “the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.”

All who flee to the valley would happily acknowledge that Jesus reigns as king; the rivers of living water would flow out to the world from the holy city.

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