Nine times we read the phrase “on that day” in just 15 verses in Zechariah 12 through to the first two verses of Zechariah 13. We note the prelude to these pronouncements, “Thus declares the LORD who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him” (Zechariah 12:1). These words announce the character of God, a declaration of His almightiness as the originator of all that exists.

It is the first “on that day” that has captivated the attention of believers throughout our lifetime. “On that day” we read, “I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it” (Zechariah 12:3). Jerusalem has been the centre of attention in the Middle East, and indeed the whole world since Israel became a nation again in 1948.

In the past the USA has tried hard to “lift” the stone to solve the problem: it seems to have only made matters worse. The influences of Islamic countries have grown and it seems clear that some day, maybe soon, an explosion will occur. The next “on that day” is when God “will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness” (Zechariah 12:4). Today men have a great variety of vehicles to replace the horse and they get around at great speed. What is this madness? We suggest it means irrational behaviour in a situation which gets out of control.

Now notice the declaration in the next verse. “The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the LORD of hosts their God”. We are inclined to believe this happens because God has poured out on “Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him they have pierced, they shall mourn …” (Zechariah 12:10)

This portrays the wonder of the return of Christ; the Jews recognise their Messiah at last; but Zechariah 13:8,9 appears to indicate they first experience a traumatic time when God will “refine them”. There is a significant turn around of events, “the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives” (Zechariah 14:4) from where Jesus ascended (Acts 1:9-12). But also “on that day there shall be a fountain opened for … the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness” (Zechariah 13:1). The most momentous climax possible.