The prophet Zechariah, who returned from exile in Babylon, writes prophecies that have a last days and kingdom era application. He has visions of the time when “Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts, the holy mountain” (8:3). He is told, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness” (verses 8,9).

More details of events at that time are then given. “I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, declares the LORD of hosts. For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce… And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things” (verses 11,12). This has started to happen, but when will there be peace?

Verse 16 has a challenging message! “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace”. How wonderful when that spirit develops and then spreads over all the earth – but today it is the opposite.

Zechariah is told that at that time God’s people will hold fasts, a prelude to “seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts” (verse 19). His next words then jump out, “Therefore love truth and peace”. There will be “cheerful feasts” of a sort in coming days, but those participating will not “love truth and peace” as a result.

The prophet’s vision then extends wider still, “Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favour of the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’” (verses 22,23).

What is a Jew? Ultimately, they are all people who belong to God, having committed their lives to him. Look at tomorrow’s chapter in Revelation, “… I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all … languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes … crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (7:9,10). These are they who “love truth and peace” now – and “entreat the favour of the LORD” – may we be among them.