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Is there an generally accepted Jewish understanding of who the subject is in Zechariah 14?

Reading the text, it seems there are at least 2 possibilities:

  1. The subject is HaShem

    • The text calls him "Adonai Tzeva'ot" repeatedly
    • Uses the divine name to refer to him
    • The subject comes out of heaven "with all his holy ones"
    • He is worshiped in Jerusalem by representatives from all nations
  2. The subject is mashiach

    • The subject fights the wars of God.
    • The subject causes all Israel (indeed, the whole earth) to follow God
    • This passage tells of the institution of an era (Messianic era?) in which "the LORD will be King over all the earth" -
    • All nations are going up to Jerusalem, similar to other messianic prophecies
    • The text seems to indicate the subject is physically present and visible (he appears, sets feet on Mt. of Olives, wages war, etc.)
    • He institutes universal acceptance of God, a sign of mashiach
    • Sacrifices in the Temple are occurring, suggesting the Temple has been rebuilt, also a sign of mashiach

Other answers here on Mi Yodeya have suggested Zechariah's prophecies are indeed messianic, although none have mentioned Zechariah 14 specifically. I haven't been able to find authoritative Jewish opinions on the matter, however, other than a few Orthodox sites that link the passage to the Messianic Era.

Rashi's commentary on Zechariah 14 gives only a clue,

"For they [these days] will be the days of the Messiah, and there shall be no subjugation during these days."

Who is the subject of Zechariah 14?

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Most of your bullets in support of (2) support the notion that the chapter is about the Messianic Era, but don't say anything about who the subject is. The only one that would seem to challenge the strong evidence presented in (1) that the subject is God is the one that describes anthropomorphisms, but those are hardly rare in the Bible. –  Isaac Moses Nov 11 '13 at 21:52
    
Thanks, Isaac. Is there something I did that caused my question to be downvoted? I am a Christian, true, but my question is a sincere one, not to argue about who the Messiah is; I honestly want to know what the Jewish understanding of Zechariah 14 is. –  Judah Himango Nov 11 '13 at 21:58
    
If you change the question to address my comment, I'll consider changing my vote. Right now, I'm not convinced that there's a real question here. The text names its subject quite clearly. –  Isaac Moses Nov 11 '13 at 22:04
    
Updated to include additional information that suggests this person is the mashiach. (Again, my question is asking what the predominate Jewish belief is on Zech 14. If the belief is HaShem himself, and not messiah, and evidence is given towards it, that's an acceptable answer.) –  Judah Himango Nov 11 '13 at 22:13
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2 Answers

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I know that to christians, seeing the word lord is ambiguous, but it is the standard translation of the Tetragrammaton (for whatever reason). That exclusively (as far as I know) refers to G-d directly, not a title. A title might be something like Moshiach Hashem (The annointed one of G-d) but that is modified, not just a straight reference.

Regarding your points:

  • The subject fights the wars of God.

    -- G-d can fight his own wars. Exodus 14:14.

  • The subject causes all Israel (indeed, the whole earth) to follow God

    -- G-d can do that directly (see e.g. Deuteronomy 30:6-8)

  • This passage tells of the institution of an era (Messianic era?) in which "the LORD will be King over all the earth"

    -- this is referenced in Jewish liturgy at the end of the Aleinu prayer (although wikipedia only translates the first paragraph, the second half with commentaries is here here), clearly referencing G-d directly as that is the Jewish understanding. Yes, it will be in the messianic era that this happens, but the emphasis (as with Deuteronomy 30) is on G-d's actions, not his tools.

  • All nations are going up to Jerusalem, similar to other messianic prophecies

    -- Yes, it is about what G-d will do, and what will happen, in the Messianic era. But the L-rd in the verses is still G-d, not Moshiach.

  • The text seems to indicate the subject is physically present and visible (he appears, sets feet on Mt. of Olives, wages war, etc.)

    -- Anthropomorphism is extremely common in the Torah.

  • He institutes universal acceptance of God, a sign of mashiach

    -- See above.

  • Sacrifices in the Temple are occurring, suggesting the Temple has been rebuilt, also a sign of mashiach

    -- It is speaking about G-d in the messianic era, not Moshiach the person.

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I am aware of the distinction between Adonai and the divine name. The reason I ask this question is, if God himself does all this, what could possibly be left for Messiah to do? Isn't it Messiah who fights the wars of God, compels all Israel to walk with God, causes worldwide acknowledgement of God? I have long assumed this to be Messiah's role, acting on behalf of God. –  Judah Himango Nov 12 '13 at 18:19
    
@JudahHimango, a perfectly legitimate question. If you ask it as a separate one, I'll think about addressing it (no promises - around here you have to source everything, so I can't just go by memory). –  Yishai Nov 12 '13 at 18:48
    
Sure. Thanks for your answer. –  Judah Himango Nov 13 '13 at 16:45
    
@JudahHimango, looks like your question was already covered here. –  Yishai Nov 13 '13 at 23:37
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This chapter identifies its subject using the Tetragrammaton, which is uniquely associated with God.

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What do Judaism's sages have to say about this chapter; do you have sources? –  Judah Himango Nov 11 '13 at 23:05
    
@JudahHimango It's pretty much axiomatic that the Tetragrammaton refers specifically to God. I don't think anyone would comment on a particular instance thereof to affirm that. That's like asking for a source that "Moshe" in Deuteronomy refers to Moshe Rabbeinu. –  Isaac Moses Nov 11 '13 at 23:10
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If it is indeed HaShem in chapter 14, it raises some additional questions: If HaShem himself saves Israel from her enemies, compels Israel to follow God, causes all nations to recognize God...what possible role could Messiah have? Perhaps that is a topic for another question. –  Judah Himango Nov 11 '13 at 23:15
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