The subject of chapter 4 is the establishment of the Messiahs' earthly
Verses 1-8 describes kingdom blessing. Verses 1-3 are identical to Isaiah
Verses 9-10 predicts the Babylonian captivity of 605 BCE which begins "the
times of the Gentiles," and includes God's promise to rescue the nation.
It looks to the overall discipline on the nation from 605 BCE until the end
of "the times of the Gentiles" at the end of the 70th week of Daniel.
In verse 10, the time of national discipline is described with the image of a woman
in labor to bear a
Even though the nation is delivered from the Babylonian captivity in 536
BCE, it is still under the 4th cycle of discipline, and never fully
recovers. In fact, in 70 AD, the nation is once again placed under the 5th
cycle until the events of the Day of the Lord and the establishment of the
Messiah's earthly kingdom will remove that discipline.
See Topic: Israel, national discipline
Verse 11 looks beyond the fact of the
Babylonian invasion to a much larger invasion that includes "many nations
have assembled against you," and complements Zechariah 14:2.
The nation is still under the labor pains of national discipline.
Verses 12-13 predicts the battle of Jerusalem after Jesus stands on the
Mount of Olives.
"Arise and thresh,
daughter of Zion,
For your horn I will make iron
And your hoofs I will make bronze,
That you may pulverize many peoples,
That you may devote to the
And their wealth to the Lord of all the earth."
It is at this time that the clans of Judah
and the inhabitants of Jerusalem "will fight at Jerusalem," Zech. 14:14.
And afterwards, repossess their own resources (Zech. 14:1) and also the
resources of the invading armies (Ezek. 39:10; Is. 33:23).
There is a natural break
here as the
focus of the prophet returns to the invasion of the Chaldeans
that will occur in 605 BCE, as predicted in verses 9-10.
(1) "Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops."
It is the "now" (attah, in the Hebrew) that takes us back to verse 9,
instead of an "and" that would indicate a continuation.
In view of the coming invasion from Chaldea, the nation is relegated to forming small
bands of resistance, even
though it will be to no avail.
"Daughter of troops" is probably a derogatory reference to Jeremiah 5:7,
where it is said that the citizens of the nation habitually gather in troops
(same verb) on their way to the house of the harlots.
(2) "He has laid siege against us." Reference to the attack of the Chaldeans.
(3) "With a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek." This
removes the independent rule of the nation over itself, as the nation is
taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BCE.
The resistance fails and the nation is
conquered by Neb's army.
Thus, the labor pain of national discipline
begins in 605 BCE and continues
until "she who is in labor has borne a child," Micah 5:3. This will occur at
the end of "the time of Jacob's distress," and more specifically, when the
Messiah arrives and rescues the nation during the day of the Lord.
"But you Bethlehem." This moves from the shame of national ruin to the
promise of deliverance. This verse is a double prophecy of the coming of the
(1) In Bethlehem, the Messiah will be born. This is the first advent, during
which He comes
as a suffering servant to provide spiritual redemption for His people and
He does not rule at this time, but will die for sins and then return to the
presence of the Father. And of course, there cannot be a second coming in
glory until there is a first coming.
(2) At the second advent, the Messiah will come to be the "ruler in Israel."
This ARRIVAL of the Messiah is described at verse 4.
"And He will arise and strengthen His flock in the strength of Yahweh."
The "He" here goes back to the one in verse 2, who will be ruler in Israel.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the nation will go into world
throughout the Roman empire.
Thus, "He will give them up." This refers to the perpetuation of national
discipline in 70AD that will last until the end of the 70th week, which is
also the end of "the times of the Gentiles." Romans 11:25-27.
The 5th cycle of National discipline on the Southern kingdom began in 605
BCE. God's discipline on the nation has never been removed since then. Even
in 536 BCE when Israel returned from the Babylonian captivity, the nation
still remained under the 4th cycle, which is political control by a foreign
nation. The 5th cycle was once again administered in 70 AD by Rome, and has
continued to this very time.
The length of the time of discipline extends from 605 BCE, beyond 70 AD, and
into the present era UNTIL "She who is in labor has borne a child."
At first glance, one might want to make application to the "birth" of the
Messiah in Bethlehem. However, the birth of the Messiah did not end the time
Instead, this is a reference back to the labor pains of verse 4:10.
The labor is the pain of national discipline. The release of the pain (the
birth of a child) is when the discipline will be removed. That will occur
when "the mystery of God is finished," at the end of the 70th week. Rev.
After that, "all Israel will be saved" (Romans 11:26)
But there is a transition period of 75 days; the 30 days for the bowls that
culminate in Armageddon and then the 45 days of preparation to separate all
unbelievers from believers before the actual earthly kingdom begins. Ezekiel
Thus, after Armageddon when the unbelieving Jews (fat sheep) will be removed
from the believers (lean sheep) only the believers will be left to go alive
into the earthly kingdom. Thus, at that time, ALL Israel will be comprised
of believers and Romans 11:26 will be fulfilled.
For I will be like a lion to Ephraim
And like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I, even I, will tear to pieces and go away,
I will carry away, and there will be none to
This refers to the 5th cycle of national
discipline in 70 AD; world-wide dispersion.
After the Messiah arrives and presents Himself to the nation as their
Savior, the nation rejects Him and He in turn rejects the nation.
Jesus returns to heaven until the perfect timing for His second coming.
Acts 3:21, "whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all
After the nation recognizes that Jesus was their promised Messiah and
expresses desire to know the truth and to return to the Lord, He will
interrupt the tribulation and return in the clouds of the sky with power and
"I will go away and return to My place
Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My
In their affliction they will earnestly seek
During the time of their
affliction (the tribulation), the nation as a whole will
SEEK MY FACE. This is not getting "saved," but is an expression of hunger
for the truth.
"Their guilt" refers to a specific national sin that has plagued the
nation since it was committed.
It is the national rejection of Jesus as their promised Messiah; "the
transgression" of Daniel 9:24.
It is this acknowledgment and expression of spiritual hunger that will
trigger the foreknown plan of God for bringing the Messiah back into the
This expression of hunger is indicated at Hosea 6:2-3
“Come, let us
return to the
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage
This is not salvation. It is not a return to the Lord.
It is the expression of DESIRE to learn and return based on the
of their national sin, but it is not YET trust in Him as savior.
“He will revive us
after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live before Him."
Now, we can have some fun with
these 2 days and 3 days.
It does not seem to have any significance if viewed as literal 24 hour
Is "day" symbolic for a year or for 1000 years?
1. If it is symbolic for a year, could this be a subtle prophecy that the
return of the Lord
will occur during the third year of the tribulation?
2. If it is symbolic for 1000 years, could it be saying that the return of
the Lord will occur AFTER 2000 years of history transpires from the first
arrival of the Messiah?
If day is
symbolic for a year, this could be a subtle prophecy that the return of
the Lord will occur during the third year of the tribulation?
I would like to think that God intends for this to be understood by the
hearers, but this seems to be something to be understood only by those
who are in the tribulation of verse 5:15, "in their affliction they will
earnestly seek Me."
As we compare with other scriptures, we learn that the return of Jesus
could actually be delayed until sometime after the 2nd year of the
beast's persecution of Israel. At least 5 months is required after His
return based on the duration of the 5th trumpet judgment of Rev. 9:5.
And it is reasonable to allot one or more months to the previous and
subsequent trumpet judgments.
Thus, "after two days" refers to the period of tribulation (their
affliction) that will begin at the midpoint of the week. It is at some
unknown day and hour AFTER the 2nd year of the tribulation that Jesus
will return in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
It is at this time that the 144k bond servants will trust in Him as
"Revive us" indicates the change of attitude that accepts Jesus as the
Savior of the world.
Then "on the third day" He will raise us up. This refers to the
restoration process of restoring the nation to favor with God which will
culminate with the establishment of the millennial kingdom.
The acknowledgment of the "nation" (represented by the 144k bond
servants) that they failed to accept Jesus as their Messiah, that God
has disciplined them, and that He will rescue them in His own perfect
timing will be the trigger for God to advance to the next stage of His
"plan of the ages" - the return of Jesus. It will come as scheduled
according to His perfect plan which is as certain as the dawn and as
promising as the spring rain.
I would like to think that God intends for this to be understood by the
hearers, but I can find no
proof for ether option.
It seems that option 1 would partially violate "no man knows the day or
It still does not say WHAT day, but it does place it beyond the two year
mark of the tribulation.
It seems that option 2 is pretty close to what has happened so far in
Regardless, the acknowledgment of the nation that they failed to accept
Jesus as their Messiah, that God has disciplined them, and that He will
rescue them in His own perfect timing will be the trigger for the return
So let us know, let us press on to know the
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth.”
This desire and appeal to the people of
Israel is from someone among themselves, and will occur before the return of
Jesus. Accordingly, it is not a message from the 144,000 bond servants since
they will not minister until AFTER the arrival of Jesus.
It is recognition that Jesus was the promised Messiah and that He will
But most individuals will not put personal trust in Him as Savior until He
actually arrives in the clouds of the sky and they see Him.
During this time, the church which will
proclaim the gospel right up until the Lord arrives in the clouds. This,
along with the ministry of the two witnesses of Revelation 11 who testify
from the start of the tribulation will result in this acknowledgment of
national sin. Thus, various people from among the Jews will be appealing one
to another to learn more and
return to the Lord.
After the nation acknowledges that Jesus
was the Messiah, and acknowledges their "national" sin of having rejected
Him, God the Father will cut short the tribulation and Jesus will arrive in the clouds
of the sky with power and great glory.
The first to believe in Jesus as Savior after His return will be the 144,000
Jewish bond servants of Revelation 7:1-8 and 14:1-5. After that there will
be many from among both Jew and Gentile who become believers. Just before
Jesus sets up His earthly kingdom, He will separate all the unbelievers from
the believers so that only believers will enter alive into the kingdom.
Ezekiel 34:17-22; Mat. 25:31-46.
"Then the remainder of His brethren will return to the sons of Israel."
The nation will become united through
personal faith in Jesus as the Savior.
He will descend from the cloud and rescue the nation and the city of
He will judge and remove all unbelievers and He will establish His kingdom
over the earth as centered in Jerusalem in righteousness and peace for 1000
This "return" is the message of the end-times witness of Elijah the prophet
Malachi 4:6, "and he will restore the hearts of the fathers to the children
and the hearts of the children to the fathers."
"And He will arise and
shepherd His flock
In the strength of the
In the majesty of the name of the
The "will arise" here is just like all the other references to the second
It refers to the GENERAL time frame of the day of the Lord.
It can refer to the start of the Day (the initial return) or it can refer to
various events that will occur
during the day.
Of course, He will initially arrive at the the 6th seal, but He will not
begin to shepherd His flock until the beginning of the earthly kingdom.
Here, it seems that the "coming" of the Lord has a more specific focus of
His physical "descent" to the earth AFTER the "arrival" of the Day of the
Lord. It seems that the "arrival" is to initiate the trumpet and bowl
judgments and His "descent" is to provide specific deliverance for Israel.
And it is after that deliverance, which culminates in Armageddon, that He
will begin to shepherd His people in His earthly kingdom.
Notice also Isaiah 40:9-11
This is the message of the 144,000 Jewish bond-servants who will witness
after the "arrival."
The focus is from (1) the bond servants to (2) the physical descent of the
Lord to (3) reward and recompense to (4) shepherding in the kingdom.
Get yourself up on a
O Zion, bearer of good news,
Lift up your voice mightily,
O Jerusalem, bearer of good news;
Lift it up, do not fear.
Say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
the Lord God
will come with might,
With His arm ruling for Him.
Behold, His reward is with Him
And His recompense before Him.
a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
"And they will remain,
Because at that time He will be great
To the ends of the earth."
rescue will officially begin at the end of the tribulation when Jesus
ARRIVES in the clouds
of the sky as portrayed at the 6th seal of Revelation 6. The time of
discipline for the nation will end several months later when the 70th week comes to a close and "the mystery of God is finished
as He proclaimed to His servants the prophets," (Rev. 10:7). But the
PHYSICAL rescue of the nation will not begin until He DESCENDS to the earth. There will be
an additional 30 days after the week ends in order to complete the
"final wrath of God" through the 7 bowls which will result in the cleansing
of the temple from the abomination of desolation (Daniel 12:11). Then there
will be an additional 45 days to prepare the earth and the earth's
population for entrance into the Messiah's earthly kingdom.
Mat. 25:11-46; Ezekiel 34:17-22).
Micah 5:5, "and this one will be our
Kingdom blessing under Messiah's reign.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the
hosts will accomplish this.
Then verse 5b is application to the Assyrian crisis in 711 BCE.
Sennacherib: Isaiah 10:24-27
Verse 6 is deliverance from Assyria as at Isaiah 36-37.
Verses 7-9, national prosperity after 711 BCE until 608 BCE when Egypt
Verses 10-15, Chaldean invasion in 605 BCE
Verses 10-11, removal of human viewpoint related to the military.
Verses 12-15, removal of human viewpoint related to religion.