One of the most profound details given concerning the Day of the LORD is the condition of the sky. A description of the sun, moon, and stars is given in many parts of Scripture. Although they can symbolically refer to the positions of authority in the governments of the world, God intended them to be used for signs, and seasons, and days, and years (Genesis 1:14). This is God’s way of keeping track of the natural cycle of time. The motion of the heavenly bodies determines night and day, evening and morning, summer and winter, and when new months begin.
In reference to the prophet Zechariah in Chapter 14, there is a detailed description of the Day of the LORD. We know from other parts of the prophetic Word that the land of Israel is divided for gain (Daniel 11:39, Joel 3:2). This is done in attempt to maintain regional peace, however, Zechariah reveals that Israel is a “spoil” divided in the midst of the other nations. In Ezekiel Chapter 38, Gog is responsible for taking Israel for a spoil, and a prey. As a result, Jerusalem is sieged. Houses are rifled, and women are ravished. Half of the city goes forth into captivity (Zechariah 14:2). Two thirds of the Jews are killed in a massacre. From a human angle, especially to the unbelieving Jew in God’s promise to save them, all hope appears to be lost. It appears that God has forever abandoned Israel. This is a sentiment held my many Christians today. However, in spite of what appears to be a total annihilation of the Jews, God has promised to deliver them. The LORD will go forth into battle in the same manner as he did in the days of old. At the most tender, desperate moment, the LORD, manifested in the Lord Jesus Christ, stands on the Mount of Olives, and causes the mountain to cleave eastward and westward, and to move toward the north and toward the south. This is the result of a massive earthquake. In fact, from a physical standpoint, there has never been an earthquake of this magnitude since man has been in existence. The surviving Jews flee away as they did in the days of the earthquake that occurred during the reign of Uzziah king of Judah. After this description of what occurs in Jerusalem, one of the most interesting descriptions of the day that this occurs is given. The passage is quoted below:
Zechariah 14:6 - And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:
This, of course, is referring to the day that the world-wide earthquake occurs. This passage has baffled Bible scholars for centuries. In fact, it has given translators of this passage a difficult job in correctly interpreting the Hebrew. Other translations have rendered the phrase “not be clear, nor dark” as “no cold or frost”, as in the NIV, ESV, and RSV. These translations are following the Septuagint Greek. After researching the matter, it will become evident that the King James rendering is the most excellent. The Hebrew word "yaqar", translated "clear", is also translated "brightness" in Job 31:26, speaking of the moon. Many scholars have taken this passage and interpreted it metaphorically. I will attempt to interpret the passage at its most literal value. After all, if you read the 14th Chapter in its entirety, the literal import of the other passages is clear. Hermeneutically, it does not make sense to isolate this verse and change the rules of interpretation. The prophet is indicating a literal event that will happen, in which, once it becomes a historical event, each detail will see a literal fulfillment. Therefore, the “light” in verse 6 is just as literal as the Mount of Olives cleaving eastward and westward in verse 4. The light is derived from the heavenly bodies in the sky, namely, the sun, the moon, and the stars. God has chosen to use the movement of the heavenly bodies in the past for signs. For example, when king Hezekiah was sick unto death, the prophet Isaiah told him that he was going to die. After Hezekiah prayed to God to live, God not only promised Hezekiah fifteen more years, God gave Hezekiah a sign that the sun would move backward ten degrees across the sky according to the dial of Ahaz (Isaiah 38:8). This sign was given in order that Hezekiah would have faith in what God promised him. Even so, this sign concerning the light is given unto us in order that we also might have faith. The verse is worded such that we are told that the light will not be clear, but at the same time it will not be completely dark. It is given as a riddle, as part of a mystery. To the observer of the sky, the language seems to indicate a moment in which the moon is directly in front of the sun, blocking it from view on the earth. In other words, the phrase is describing the effect of a solar eclipse. More importantly, it is describing the effect of a solar eclipse that is visible from Jerusalem! This is most important to understand because solar eclipses occur regularly every year. They usually occur twice, and sometimes they occur three or more times in a single calendar year. Looking at the sky from Jerusalem, most of these eclipses will occur during the middle of the night at some remote point on earth, or during the day where the moon’s shadow does not come close enough to Jerusalem to block all or part of the sun. However, there are a few solar eclipses that are visible from Jerusalem in our near future in the 21st century. If we conclude that the Day of the LORD occurs on the day of a solar eclipse that is visible from Jerusalem, and we know how to calculate the motion of the sun and the moon in the sky based on Kepler’s laws of motion of heavenly bodies, it is possible to narrow down the possibilities mathematically when that great Day will be. I believe that God intended it to be this way. He has chosen to reward his faithful servants in the last pre-millennial generation of time who diligently seek the mind of God to know his secrets. Keep in mind that this is NOT calculating the exact day and hour of the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus must already be present in the earth, long before this day arrives. He would have already come as a thief in the night, and no man knows that day nor the hour, not the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only (Mark 13:32). Rather, the solar eclipse will only determine what day Jesus Christ triumphs over his enemies in the War of God Almighty in power and great glory.
Zechariah is a prophet that prophesied between 520-480 B.C. He prophesied during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah when the Jews were in the process of rebuilding Jerusalem. The 14th chapter in Zechariah is often attributed to have been written toward the end of the days he prophesied in 480 B.C. It is interesting that during this period of time, there was a solar eclipse visible over Jerusalem on Tuesday, October 2, 480 B.C. The entire event occurred between 1:20 PM and 4:16 PM Israel Standard Time, with the darkest moment occurring at 3:08 PM. Because the time of sunset was 5:53 PM, the sun became totally visible again for about 90 minutes in the evening time. It might be that Zechariah witnessed the eclipse occur during the afternoon, and saw the sun appear again at evening time. Although it is impossible to prove, this could have been Zechariah’s inspiration for describing a particular day in the latter days in which the light would not be clear, nor dark, not day, nor night, and that at evening time it shall be light.
Note: -479 is reported in astronomical time. Because there is no year 0 from 1 AD to 1 B.C, we must subtract 1 year to find the correct year. -479 is equivalent to 480 B.C.