Both Zechariah 14:1-8 and Luke 21:20-26 contain prophecies about the city of Jerusalem. Even though the two prophecies were separated by more than five centuries of time, both prophecies describe the same event: the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans under Titus in 70 A.D. (see also Matt. 23:37-38; Matt. 24:1-2, Matt.15-22; Mark 13:1-2, Mark 14-20; Luke 13:34-35; Luke 19:41-44; Luke 21:5-19; Luke 23:27-31). At that time, certain ones would not be spared or delivered while certain other ones would be delivered. The ones who were delivered were the followers of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
Zechariah’s prophecy of Jerusalem’s fall
Zechariah 14:1-8 says, “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: but it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.”
We need to keep in mind that Zechariah was one of God’s prophets for the remnant of Israel who returned to Israel from the Babylonian captivity. This prophecy was many years after the first destruction of Jerusalem, by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 B.C. Therefore, it would necessarily have to refer to next destruction of Jerusalem, which was by the Romans in 70 A.D. Zechariah 14:1-8 refers to the time of Jerusalem’s destruction as “the day of the Lord” (Zech. 14:1). Jerusalem would be spoiled (Zech. 14:1), besieged, and taken (Zech. 14:2). She would have her “the houses rifled, and the women ravished” (Zech. 14:2). God said half the city would go into captivity, but a residue would not be cut off (Zech. 14:2). For this “residue,” the Lord would create a path by which his saints would flee like they had from the earthquake of king Uzziah’s day (Zech. 14:4-5).
Christ’s prophecy of Jerusalem’s fall
Jesus also prophesied of these events. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:20-26).
History records that the Christians in Jerusalem (the “residue” of the city referred to in Zechariah 14:2) recognized the signs and heeded the warning given by Christ in Luke 21:20-26. As prophesied by Zechariah, the Roman army paused from their siege before destroying Jerusalem and at that time, the Christians (the “saints,” in Zechariah 14:5) fled Jerusalem and took refuge in Pella, eastward of Jordan. God suddenly gave Christians this way of escape (Zech. 14:4-5). None of them were harmed. The Jews who remained in the city were destroyed and scattered. Everything prophesied in Zechariah 14:1-8, as well as by the Lord Jesus himself in Luke 21:20-26, was exactly fulfilled when the Christians escaped the destruction of the Jews and Jerusalem in 70 A.D.