MESSIAHS VISIBLE APPEARING
AS THE DELIVERER OF
OF GODS KINGDOM ON EARTH
By DAVID BARON
* * *
ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 14
Behold, a day of Jehovah cometh, when thy spoil
shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 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. 3 Then shall Jehovah go forth, and fight against those
nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. 4 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 be
cleft 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. 5 And ye shall flee by the
valley of My mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azel: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the
earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and Jehovah my God shall come,
and all the holy ones with Thee. 6 And it shall come to
pass in that day, that there shall not be light: the bright ones shall withdraw
but it shall be one day which is known unto Jehovah; not day, and not night:
but it shall come to pass, that at evening time there shall be light. 8 And it shall come to pass in that day, that living waters
shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of
them toward the western sea: in summer and, in winter shall it be. 9 And Jehovah shall be King over all the earth: in that day
shall Jehovah be one, and His name one. 10 All the land shall be made like the Arabah,
from Geba to Rimnion south
of Jerusalem; and she shall be lifted up, and shall dwell in her place, from
Benjamins gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and
from the tower of Hananel unto the kings
winepresses. 11 And men shall dwell
therein, and there shall be no more curse; but
* * *
Perhaps in connection with no other scripture do the contradictions and absurdities of the allegorising commentators appear so clearly as in their interpretations of this 14th chapter of Zechariah. Thus, according to Hengstenberg, Keil, and others of the older German expositors, who are followed by such English scholars as Pusey and C. H. H. Wright, to whose works I have so often referred in this exposition, Israel, in this last section of Zechariah, denotes the people of God in contradistinction to the peoples of the world; the inhabitants of Jerusalem with the house of David, and Judah with its princes, as the representatives of Israel, are typical epithets applied to the representatives and members of the new-covenant people, namely, the Christian Church; and Jerusalem and Judah, as the inheritance of Israel, are types of the seats and territories of Christendom.*
And yet, when it is a question of judgment, as, for instance,
the statement that two thirds shall be cut off and die
in the land, then, of course, they are agreed that those cut off are literal Jews, and the land
Or again, when it is a prediction which has already been fulfilled, such as the piercing of the Messiah in chap. 12: 10, or the smiting of the shepherd and the scattering of the flock in chap. 13: 7, then it is to be understood literally; but when the prophet speaks of things of which no fulfilment can yet be found in history, then the words, however definite and particular, must be spiritualised, and Jerusalem is no longer the capital of the Promised Land, but the Church, and Israel, no longer the literal descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but the people of God, by which, as is seen in the quotation given above, is meant Christendom.
But that is not really a spiritual way of interpreting Scripture, which robs it of its simple and obvious sense.
Keil, etc., speak of the views expressed by Koehler and Hoffmann in their works
on Zechariah, that this chapter refers to a yet future siege
In the words of a
true master in
And when we remember how literally prophecy has been fulfilled, we cannot but expect as literal a fulfilment in the future.
How natural it would have been for those who lived before the First Advent, to think that only the spiritual features of the Messiahs Coming and Kingdom could be the object of inspired prophecy, and that the outward and minute circumstances predicted were either allegorical and figurative, or only the drapery and embellishment of important and essential truths. And yet the fulfilment was minute even in subordinate detail.* For our own part, it is unnecessary to say, after what we have already written on chaps. 12. and 13., that we have here a great and solemn prophecy which will yet be literally fulfilled in the future. And when it is objected by some of the modern writers that the literal fulfilment is impossible, because it would involve not only national upheavals, but physical convulsions of nature, our answer is that this is just what the prophet declares as most certainly to take place; and, as if to anticipate the objection on the ground of its being naturally impossible, or, according to human judgment, improbable, he reminds us at the very outset of this section of his prophecy that it is the word of Jehovah, Who stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him,** with whom nothing is impossible.
* Adolph Saphir. ** Chap. 12: 1.
* * *
* The exposition of the first seven verses of this chapter - now slightly altered - was originally written out and read as a paper at a meeting of the Prophecy Investigation Society, which also printed it for private circulation among the members. This will account for its being slightly different in form and style from my exposition generally.
The first verses of this fourteenth chapter, which are an expansion and amplification of the last three verses of the preceding chapter, lead us back, I believe, to the point of time with which the twelfth chapter opens, and tells us of the judgment which is first allowed of God to be inflicted on Jerusalem in the final great siege by means of the marshalled Gentile armies, whose subsequent sudden destruction these chapters prophetically set forth with all the vividness of an historic event depicted by an eye-witness.
Nor need we be surprised to find in this chapter a partial reiteration of events which had already been announced by the prophet in chaps. 12. and 13.; for, to quote a few sentences from a writer with whose interpretation of the last chapters of Zechariah I am utterly at variance, the prophets frequently speak generally of the final results of an event, and afterwards proceed to give further details. Any attempt to regard all the statements of the prophets as necessarily succeeding one another in chronological order, would reduce many of these prophecies to a mass of confusion. This observation is true.
But it is necessary briefly to summarise the probable events which lead up to the supreme crisis into the midst of which we are introduced in this last chapter of Zechariah.
First of all we have to suppose a restoration of the Jews in a condition of unbelief - not a complete restoration of the whole nation, which will not take place till after their conversion, but of a representative and influential remnant.
It seems from Scripture that in relation to Israel and the land there will be a restoration, before the Second Advent of our Lord, of very much the same state of things as existed at the time of His First Advent when the threads of Gods dealing with them nationally were finally dropped, not to he taken up again until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled.
There was at that time a number of Jews in
So it will be again.
There will be at first, as compared with the whole nation, only a
representative minority in
The nucleus of this politically independent Jewish state is already to be seen in the 120,000 Jews who have wandered back from all regions of the earth to the land of their fathers.
Around this nucleus a large number more from all parts of the world will in all probability soon he gathered; but we shall only be able to speak of a restoration of the Jews as an accomplished fact when Palestine becomes by international consent (to quote from the Zionist programme) the openly recognised and legally assured home of the Jews, i.e., when the Jews are once more acknowledged as a nation with a land of their own to which they might go.*
* How rapidly things have developed on the lines here forecast since the above was originally written four or five years ago.
The Declaration of the
British Government recognises the Jews as once more a nation, and promises to
facilitate their re-establishment in
But what follows? After a brief interval of prosperity there comes a night of
anguish. What occasions the
darkest hour in the night of
If we interpret Scripture rightly, they shall have entered into covenant and sworn allegiance to a false Messiah, thus culminating their national apostasy, and fulfilling the word of Christ, If another shall come in his own name, him ye shall receive.
But the covenant of iniquity based upon apostasy will not
stand. Infuriated, probably by the
faithfulness to the covenant God of their fathers on the part of the godly
remnant who shall then be found in the land, the Antichrist forms the purpose
of utterly and finally exterminating this people, who can never cease, even in
apostasy and unbelief, to be witnesses for the living God and His truth. The armies of the confederated nations, the
very flower of their strength, are marshalled together in
The dreadfulness of these hosts I have already dwelt on in my notes
on the 12th chapter. They march in triumph through the land,
easily treading down all opposition. And
now the enemy in overwhelming force and irresistible fury attacks
Well might another prophet exclaim, Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacobs trouble.
But though it is a day which begins with calamity and judgment
There are many instances recorded in the Old Testament when
Jehovah manifestly fought for His people.
In Josh. 10: 14, for instance, we
find words which seem echoed in this prophecy.
And there was no day like that before it or after it, we read there, for Jehovah fought
And it will be no other than Jehovah-Jesus, the EI Gibbor, God the Mighty Man, who will thus suddenly appear as Israels deliverer in the hour of their sorest need: And His feet, we read, shall stand in that day upon the, Mount of 0lives, which is before Jerusalem on the east.
The mountain which is so clearly defined and located in this
prophecy is already associated with many events and crises in
It was from this mountain also that He, who was not only the
symbol, but the living personal revelation of the glory of Jehovah, finally
took His departure from the land after He had already been rejected by the
nation. He led His handful of disciples
out as far as
* Luke 24: 50, 51.
But from the same direction whence he saw the departure of the
Glory of Jehovah, the prophet Ezekiel saw also its return. Afterwards, we read, He brought me to the
gate that looketh toward the east, and behold, the Glory of the God of
We love to think that this same mountain on which He once shed tears of sorrow over Jerusalem, the slope of which witnessed His agony and bloody sweat, shall be the first also to witness His manifestation in glory; and that His blessed feet, which in the days of His flesh walked wearily over this mountain on the way to Bethany shall, in that day, be planted here in triumph and majesty.
In response to the actual presence of the Divine majesty of
the Son of God on this earth, the
Into this valley the remnant still remaining in
* The Massoretic reading, Ye shall flee, is doubtless the correct one, and not shall be stopped up, which is found in several MSS, and adopted in the Targum, the Septuagint, and other versions.
The occasion of this flight will not only be fear of the destroying enemy, and the terror inspired by the earthquake, but they shall flee most of all for fear of Jehovah, and the glory of His majesty, when thus suddenly and unexpectedly the Lord my God shall come, in the person of their long-rejected Messiah, and all the holy ones with Thee - by which are meant, not only the myriads of His holy angels, but His saints, who are also called qedoshim (holy ones), and who shall have been caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
It is at this point, I believe, that the solemn events announced from the 4th verse of chap. 12. to the 2nd verse of chap. 13. will transpire.
The first proof of the Lords interposition on behalf of His people and land, will be His act of judgment on the besieging hosts. The pride of the glory of the marshalled armies will probably be in the mounted squadrons, which will no doubt include the finest horsemen of Europe and Arabia, and against them the Captain of the Lords host shall first direct His hand: In that day I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness.*
* Chap. 12: 4.
Then the extended ranks of infantry shall be visited with the plague described in chap. 14: 12, and a great tumult from the Lord shall ensue among the confederated hosts, as happened in the past, when Jehovah fought for Israel; so that each mans hand shall be against his neighbour.
And not only by the direct act of God shall the enemy be destroyed, but, as already shown in my Notes on chap. 12., with the shout of a king in their midst, and conscious that Almighty power is now on their side, the remnant of Judah, too, will do valiantly, and tread down their enemies under their feet: He that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David, and the house of David shall be as God, as the Angel of the Lord before them.
But suddenly the noise of war and the shout of triumph is
turned into wailing and lamentation as the spirit of grace and supplication takes
possession of the heart of the remnant of Israel, and the eyes of the blind are
opened, and they behold in the King of Glory, at whose presence the earth
trembles and the mountains are cleft, and who has so marvellously delivered
them in the hour of their greatest need, none other than the one whom they have
pierced, and whom for so many centuries they have rejected and despised. This look of recognition, as we have seen in chap. 12.,
And not only will the sorrow and mourning spread from
When the final judgments of God are abroad in the earth, and when the anti-Christian rage and persecution will be everywhere directed not only against the confessors of Christ, but against those in Israel who are faithful to the God of their fathers, there will be weeping and mourning, and heart-searching among the scattered tribes of Israel in all the lands of their dispersion.
And when at last, in the hour of their deepest need, their long-rejected, crucified Messiah appears for their deliverance - when His blessed feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives - they will almost simultaneously be made aware of it; for, though they may not all at once behold Him with their eyes, the whole world, and nature generally, will be conscious of, and respond to, the visible appearing and presence of the Son of God.
And the spared remnant of the dispersed of
But to proceed to the 6th verse.
In keeping with the awful solemn events shall be the outward natural phenomena and physical characteristics of that fateful day. It shall be a day of preternatural gloom. There shall be no light, the precious ones (i.e., the stars, the splendid heavenly bodies) will contract themselves (or wane), which I believe to be the true meaning of the two last, somewhat difficult Hebrew words of the 6th verse, which have been variously rendered and interpreted by commentators.* This is in harmony with the plain declarations of other prophetic announcements concerning that day; as, for instance, The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining,** or, in the words of Isaiah: The moon shall be confounded and the sun ashamed when the Lord of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously;*** and again: The stars of heaven, and the constellations thereof, shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.****
* The words in the Hebrew text are precious, rare, splendid is applied to the moon in Job 31: 26, which is described as sailing resplendent, and it seems most probable that the plural yeqaroth is used here of the resplendent heavenly bodies, i.e., the stars. The verb, qapha (thicken, condense, congeal) is found in Ex. 15: 8, and describes the depths as becoming congealed, or consolidated, in the midst of the seas. But the difference of the gender in the combination of the feminine substantive yeqaroth with the masculine verb yeqipa'un, the irregularity of construction, and the rarity with which these words are met with in the Hebrew Bible, have occasioned many conjectural readings and explanations. The keri (marginal alternative reading in the Massoretic text) has yeqaroth - the meaning of which is also not quite clear, but may he rendered intense brightness, and waning. But it is pretty generally agreed by all scholars that the kethib (the Hebrew text) and not the keri, or margin, has the true reading. The Jewish explanation is embodied in Kimchis comment, which is as follows: In that day in which he says that this miracle shall occur, there shall also be this circumstance, that the light shall neither be yeqaroth (precious) nor yeqipa'un (thickness). The meaning is figurative, that the light of that day shall not be bright, which is the meaning of precious lights, or the moon walking in brightness (Job 31: 26), nor light of thickness, i.e., dense and thick, which is like darkness. The sense is, the day shall not be entirely light nor entirely dark, i.e., it shall not pass entirely in tranquillity nor in affliction, for they two shall be in it; and so he says afterwards, not day nor night. Jonathan has interpreted, There shall be nothing that day but privation and coagulation.
The LXX reads , and cold and frost.
The translation which I have given in the text seems to me the most satisfactory.
** Joel 3: 15. *** Isa. 13: 10. **** Isa. 24: 23.
But in those days after that tribulation the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her Iight, and the stars shall be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heaven shall be shaken.*
* Mark 13: 24, 25.
And it shall be yom echad, one day, we read in our prophecy one primarily in the sense of its being unique and different to all other days in the worlds history, so that none is like it, as Jeremiah expresses it, and it shall be known to Jehovah, which phrase certainly reminds us of the words of our Lord: Of that day and hour knoweth no man, not even the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father* - Not day nor night like mysterious light when day and night are contending together. It shall not be day, for the natural sources of light will be withdrawn; but it cannot be like the darkness of night, for there will be the transplendent light of the glory of the Lord, and the myriads of His holy angels, and of the glorified saints reflected on the earth.
* Mark 13: 32.
And it shall come to pass that at evening time - when in the order of nature everything should sink into darkness - there shall be light; out of the contest between light and darkness on that eventful day light shall emerge victorious the light of salvation breaking its way through the night of judgment, as Von Orelli observes; and out of the apparent chaos beauty and order.
As far as its primary literal significance is concerned, the statement that at evening time there shall be light, may perhaps be explained by the words of Isaiah: The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that Jehovah bindeth up the hurt of His people and healeth the stroke of their wound.*
* Isa. 30: 26.
But this literal physical phenomenon will answer also to the spiritual condition of the spared remnant. At evening time of that great and most solemn day - the great Atonement Day for the nation - when the long dark period of their national history shall end in bitter sorrow and universal mourning, not on account of their suffering, but for their sin; when the glorious Sun of Righteousness shall at last rise upon them with healing in His wings, there shall be light - the light and the joy of forgiveness and eternal reconciliation; the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ which shall shine upon them.
We can in part conceive the feelings
with which the spared remnant of
* B. W.
The blessed issues of the great and solemn events of that day, as set forth in the first seven verses, are described in the verses that follow:-
1. By means of the great earthquake spoken of in vers. 4 and 5, and other convulsions of nature which are immediately to precede and to accompany the visible appearing of the Messiah, when His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives - great physical changes will take place in Palestine and the whole land, but particularly, the position of Jerusalem will be greatly altered and transformed.* And it shall come to pass in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the western sea; in summer and in winter shall it be.
* Isa. 30: 25, 26.
The eastern (haqqadmoni, which
has sometimes also the meaning of ancient) is
the Dead Sea, which shall then be healed by the streams of fresh, or living, water which will flow through it; and
the western ha-ackaron
(literally, the last or hindermost) is
the Mediterranean. And these waters will
never run dry, as the streams in the south* are apt to do now: summer drought shall not lessen them, nor winter cold bind
them, but they shall ceaselessly flow in summer and in winter.
To these perennial waters flowing from the
* Psalm 126: 4. ** Psalm 65: 9.
Thus Joel, speaking of the time when Jehovah shall manifestly dwell in Zion, and Jerusalem shall be holy, into which nothing that defileth shall enter, says, And a fountain shall come forth from the house of Jehovah and shall water the valley of Shittim;* and in Ps. 46., which is a great prophecy of the same solemn events which are described in these last chapters of Zechariah, the inspired Psalmist beholds in vision a river the streams whereof make glad the city of God,** namely, restored and renewed Jerusalem, the vestibule, as it were, during the millennial period of the Jerusalem which is above - which shall emerge from the catastrophe described in the first verses, when the earth shall be removed, or changed, and the mountains shaken into the heart of the seas, and the waters roar and be troubled.
* Joel 3: 18. Some modern writers understand this as referring to a valley somewhere in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem (a valley in connection with the Kidron Valley - von Orelli), but I am inclined to think that the reference is to the Shittim of Num. 25: 1, the last encampment of the Israelites on the steppes of Moab before their entrance into Canaan - the barren valley of the Jordan above the Dead Sea. Shittim means acacias, which grow only in and regions, and the words of the prophecy imply that even the and desert shall be fertilised by the waters issuing from this fountain.
** Psalm 46: 4.
The allusion in all these scriptures, which speak of the river
of living waters dividing themselves into streams flowing in different
directions, is probably to Gen. 2: 10. There we read: And a river went out of
Now, to repeat, we believe, in a literal fulfilment of this prophecy in Zechariah, and when we are told by a scholarly English writer that a literal fulfilment is out of the question because the physical nature of the whole land would have to be changed to permit literal rivers to flow forth from Jerusalern,* our answer is, Certainly; this is just what the prophecy says will be the case. The physical nature of the whole land will be changed through the convulsions of nature, which are described here and in other scriptures, and which will be brought about by the Almighty power of God, with whom nothing is impossible. But while this literal fulfilment cannot be emphasised too strongly in order to a true understanding of these prophecies, it is important also to note that the literal, material river will be at the same time the visible symbol of the mighty river of Gods grace and salvation, which, during the millennial period dividing itself into full streams of Messianic blessings, will start from Jerusalem as its source and centre, and carry life and salvation to all nations.
* Dr. C. H. H. Wright, Zechariah and his Prophesies. His long chapter of nearly one hundred pages on The Eschatology of Zechariah, or the Last Things as seen in the Light of the Old Dispensation, is an illustration and specimen of the phantomising method of interpreting Old Testament prophecy, to which I referred in the introductory remarks to this chapter. But though very dogmatic in his style, Dr. Wright succeeds, not in explaining, but in explaining away, these great prophecies.
We read in many parts of the
Scripture that the
* B. W.
As the symbol of the greater spiritual reality, let us pause
and contemplate for a moment this
* Isa. 33: 21. ** Rev. 22: 1.
Another glorious fact emphasised in the Scriptures in
connection with these living waters is their fulness - indicative of the
abundance of Gods grace and salvation, which shall go forth during the
period of Messiahs reign, from
* Psa. 65: 9. ** Ezek. 47: 1-12.
And as they are abundant in quantity, so also is the healing,
life-giving efficacy of the living waters wonderful. The very desert shall be
transformed by them, and the stagnant waters of the
* Rev. 22: 2.
A foretaste of the great spiritual realities, which in the age to come will be symbolised also by literal and visible objects, we have indeed in the present dispensation, for those are not wholly wrong who point to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as embodying the very qualities ascribed to these living waters, and many there be who can testify from experience to its life-giving, healing, sanctifying power, and to the great and glorious transformations which it has effected in the world since Christs first Advent. But, whereas its course now and all through the present period is an intermittent, chequered one, and its quickening power has been experienced only by individuals, by-and-by, when Israel as a nation is first quickened and transformed by it, and the national Saul of Tarsus is turned into a nation of Pauls, with the same burning love and self-consuming zeal for their Redeemer-King, which characterised the great Apostle to the Gentiles - the blessings of Messiahs Gospel, and the beneficent effects of His reign will flow from Jerusalem as mighty rivers and streams into all parts of the world, so that it will not be long before the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea.*
* Hab. 2: 14.
2. Another glorious issue of the solemn events described in the first seven verses of our chapter will be the establishment of Messiahs righteous and beneficent rule on earth, and the fulfilment of the prayer which has ascended from the yearning hearts of the faithful in all ages: Thy Kingdom come. This is announced in the 9th verse: And Jehovah shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall Jehovah be one and His Name one. In this great and comprehensive prophecy we note especially two or three points: (a) "Jehovah shall be King - but according to the united and harmonious testimony of the prophetic Scriptures it will be Jehovah in the person of the Messiah, Jehovah-Jesus, Immanuel - He whose feet shall in that day stand on the Mount of Olives which is before Jerusalem on the east - who will thus set up His Kingdom and rule on this earth. And He will be King, not only in virtue of His being the Son of God, in whose coming and reign the long-promised rule of God Himself on this earth shall at last be realised in the fullest possible measure, but by reason of His being the Son of Man - the second Adam - the appointed Lord of creation, in whom the original purpose of God in the creation of man and of the world shall be fulfilled, and as the Son of David, in whom all the promises of the Messianic Kingdom are centred, before whose birth it was announced by the angel from heaven, He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David. And He shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end.
All that is implied in the blessed announcement that Jehovah
Himself shall at last be King over this earth, and in the person of His own
Son, who is at the same time the man after His own heart, visibly rule among
the nations, we cannot yet fully conceive.
Our ideas of kingship, to quote the
words of a master in
* Adolph Saphir. ** 2 Sam. 33: 1-4, R.V.
For this ideal King, for this glorious Sun to usher in the morning without clouds on this groaning earth, the nations have long waited; but He shall come, and the world will experience the blessedness of His righteous and beneficent sway.
(b) The extent of His rule - over all the earth. As explained more than once in the course of these notes, eretez, translated earth, means both land and earth; and the primary reference in this prophecy is doubtless to the holy land,* as the enlarged and purified Land of Promise shall then be called. The word is used in this more restricted sense in the very next verse of our chapter, where it is rightly translated land. But while the holy hill of Zion shall be the seat of His throne, and Palestine, with restored and converted Israel, the centre of His blessed rule, He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth; yea, all kings shall fall down before Him, all nations shall serve Him,** for all the kingdoms of this world shall then become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall [in the new heaven and new earth] reign for ever and ever.
* Chap. 2: 12. ** Psa. 72: 8-11.
That the prophets vision of the theocratic kingdom ranged beyond even the enlarged boundaries of the land, and extended to the whole earth, is seen also from the 16th verse, where he speaks of all the nations coming up to Jerusalem to worship the King-Jehovah of Hosts, whose sole rule they will then acknowledge. Yes, Messiahs kingship is to extend over the earth. Gods will, according to the petition which He teaches His disciples, is to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
It is on earth, where God has been
denied and forgotten; where His honour has been disregarded and His
commandments have been transgressed; where nations and kingdoms, instead of
seeking His glory and showing forth His praise - have not bowed to His
authority and reverenced His law; it is on earth that the Lord shall reign;
injustice, cruelty and war shall be banished; and instead of idolatry,
selfishness and sin, the fear and love and beauty of God will be manifest. Christ and the glorified saints shall reign
* Adolph Saphir, Lectures on the Lords Prayer.
3.. In that day, the prophet adds, shall Jehovah be One - that is, recognised and acknowledged as such, and be known and called the God of the whole earth,* the only and blessed Potentate;** for the false gods of the nations, to whom even Israel was tempted in former days of apostasy to render worship, shall be cut off, and all idols utterly abolished.
* Isa. 54: 5. ** 1 Tim. 6: 15.
And His Name - which embodies His revealed character as the God of Redemption, the faithful covenant-keeping God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, now fully made known to us by our Lord Jesus Christ, who is Himself the fullest revelation of the Name, shall be One - to the exclusion of all others - as the only object of reverence, praise, and worship, so that he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth;* and the nations, even from the ends of the earth, confess that the gods which they had formerly worshipped were no gods, and the idolatries which they had inherited from their fathers were nought but lies, even vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.**
* Isa. 65: 16.
** Jer. 16: 19-20 (R.V.). Von Orelli thinks that by the unity of the name Jehovah is to be understood primarily unity of designation, which is important as the plurality of designations of the one God has fed in various ways to plural conceptions of the Godhead, and refers to Hos. 2: 16. Lange, by simply referring his readers for an explanation of this clause to Hitzig, seemingly adopts it as his own - namely, that in consequence of the display of Jehovahs glory, the heathen who had hitherto worshipped God under other names, such as Moloch, Baal, etc., should from henceforth honour and adore Him as Jehovah, under which Name He had made Himself known to the people of Israel. But, as another has observed, The idea that the heathen under the various names of their gods really meant to worship Jehovah, appears to be an attempt to engraft modern ideas (which, I venture to add, have no basis in fact) upon those of the Old Testament prophets.
As the city of the great King (Ps. 48: 2), whose dominion extends to earths
utmost bounds, and as the centre whence Gods light and truth shall go forth among
all the nations, Jerusalem is also to be physically exalted above the hills by
which she has hitherto been surrounded and overshadowed. This is the announcement in the 10th verse: All the land shall be turned (or changed,
so that it shall become as, or) like the Arabah. Then the district to be thus transformed
is more closely defined, namely, from Geba to Rimmon, south of
* Josh. 18: 24. ** Josh. 19: 13. *** Judg. 20: 45-47.
All this district from Geba to Rimmon is to be changed and become as the Arabah ( ). This word, translated plain in the A.V., is the proper name of the Jordan valley - that remarkable depression which runs from the slopes of Hermon to the Red Sea, known as the deepest depression in the surface of the globe; the sea of Galilee situated within it being 652 feet below the level of the Mediterranean, while the Dead Sea, which is also included in its course, is 1316 feet below that level, or the level of the Red Sea. Parts of this valley were distinguished for their luxurious vegetation, but the reference here is not to its fertility nor to its deep depression, which probably will itself undergo modification in that day of great physical as well as moral upheavals, but to the fact of its being a plain.
The whole hill-country specified shall be levelled or become a
plain, and she (i.e.,
* Jer. 30: 18. Translated in the A.V., Upon its own heap.
In this brief statement about the towering position of Jerusalem in that day the prophet Zechariah gives us also, as is his wont, a terse summary of the longer predictions of the former prophets; for already Isaiah and Micah, as well as Ezekiel, announced that it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of Jehovahs house shall be established on the top of Mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills.*
* Isa. 2: 2.
And here again, as in the case of the living waters in the 8th verse, the literal fact will at the same time he emblematic of a great spiritual truth. Zion in the millennial age will be the city of truth, the habitation of righteousness and mountain of holiness, and therefore will be raised conspicuously aloft in the view of all the nations; it will be the source whence the living waters of Gods grace and salvation are to issue in all directions, and therefore every obstacle which might hinder their flow shall be changed and turned into a plain. It will be the centre of Gods governmental rule of the world, and the place to which all nations shall flow for instruction and guidance, and therefore it must be lifted high, and approach to it rendered easy.
In the words of the beautiful paraphrase of the prophetic announcement by Isaiah and Micah:-
Behold! the mountain of the Lord
In latter days shall rise
On mountain-tops above the hills,
And draw the wondring eyes.
To this the joyful nations round,
All tribes and tongues, shall flow
Up to the hill of God, theyll say,
And to His house well go!
The beam that shines from
Shall lighten evry land;
The King who reigns in
Shall all the world command.
Among the nations He shall judge -
His judgments truth shall guide
His sceptre shall protect the just
And quell the sinners pride.
The second half of the 10th verse describes the bounds of the restored and enlarged city, which shall thus be lifted up and settled down to dwell safely in her own place.
From Benjamins gate unto the place of the first
gate, unto the
corner gate, and from the
I shall not trouble my readers with topographical details, all the more as by general confession the gates and towers here named cannot with any certainty be identified. Suffice it here to say that Benjamins gate, which is very probably the same as the gate of Ephraim, mentioned in 2 Kings 14: 13, was in the north wall of the city through which the road to Benjamin, and thence to Ephraim, ran.
The first (or former) gate, which no longer existed in Zechariahs time, since only the place where it once stood is referred to, is supposed to have been at the north-eastern corner, and the corner gate (which is also mentioned in 2 Kings 14: 13 as well as in Jer. 31: 38) at the north-western corner.
If these suppositions be correct, this line would describe the
whole breadth of the city from east to west, while the tower of Hananel,* which stood at the north or north-east corner, and the kings
all are agreed were in the kings gardens south of the city, would indicate the
northern and southern boundaries. But the chief importance of these local and
topographical details in this great prophecy is the proof which
they afford that it must be literally understood, and that it is of Jerusalem
and Palestine that the prophet primarily speaks, or what can
the allegorising commentators make of these physical landmarks and boundaries,
such as the gate of Benjamin and the corner gate?
And in what part of the heavenly
* See Jer. 31: 38; Neh. 3: 1, 12: 39.
The 11th verse gives us in three
brief sentences a glimpse of the blessed condition of the
(a) And they shall dwell in her, that is, permanently and at peace, nevermore to go forth from it either in captivity or in flight.* In the words of one of the former prophets, Jacob then shall be quiet, and at ease, and none shall make him afraid.**
* Koehler. ** Jer. 30: 10.
(b) And there shall be no more curse (or ban or sentence of destruction, as the word may be rendered), because the causes which previously provoked the Holy One to inflict desolating and destructive judgments upon the land and people shall be no more.* Another glorious and blessed contrast with the past, when on account of manifold and continuous transgressions He had to profane the princes of the sanctuary, and give Jacob over to the curse ( ) and Israel to reproaches (or reviling).**
* The word herem (which is a masculine noun), describes primarily something devoted - usually for utter destruction, but occasionally also for sacred uses. Thus, for instance, the cities and
inhabitants of Canaan were devoted by God to utter destruction, and of
** Isa. 43: 28.
(c) And Jerusalem shall dwell (or shall be inhabited safely, or literally, in conscious security (
) or in confidence,
for, though it shall be surrounded neither by walls, nor fortifications, it
shall have nothing to fear For I, saith Jehovah, will be unto her a wall of
fire round about, and the glory in the midst of her,* and salvation, will Jehovah appoint for walls and bulwarks.** This outline
picture of the blessed condition of restored and purified Jerusalem, which in
the millennial period will be, so to say, the earthly vestibule and the
reflection of the glory of the new or heavenly Jerusalem, which shall come down
from God out of heaven, is filled in by the inspired utterances of the former prophets (on which the prophecies of Zechariah
are more or less based), but particularly in the last chapters of Isaiah: For behold, I create
new heavens and a new earth: and the former things shall not be remembered, nor
come into mind. But be ye glad and
rejoice for ever in that which I create: for
behold, I create
* Zech. 2: 4, 5. ** Isa. 26: 1.
*** Isa. 65: 17-20, 23-25. Some have professed to
find a contradiction between the words of Zechariah, There
shall he no curse, and this statement of Isaiah that the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
But first the passage in Isaiah instances what are probably two hypothetical
cases illustrative of the general longevity and the very rare occurrence of sin in
The glorious picture of salvation in vers. 8-12 has its obverse side, namely, the judgments which will be inflicted on the enemies of God and His people. Chronologically, vers. 12-15 follow ver. 3, for the terrible punishment of the confederated anti-Christian hosts which they describe (and which are an amplification and supplement to the prophetic announcement of the destruction of these same Gentile hosts in chap. 12: 4-10) are the immediate consequence of the manifest interposition of Jehovah in the person of the Messiah as the Deliverer of His people, when He shall go forth and fight against those nations as when He fought in the day of battle; but the detailed description of the judgments on Israels enemies is passed over by the prophet for a time in order that the wonderful deliverance of Gods people and the glorious transformation of Jerusalem and the Holy Land might be first fully described.
Three weapons will be used by God for the destruction of the enemies of His Kingdom: (1) The fearful plague described in verse 12 ; (2) mutual destruction in consequence of a great panic of terror from Jehovah; and (3) the superhuman strength of the saved remnant of Judah, who shall suddenly become like a pan of fire among wood, and like a flaming torch among sheaves* and shall devour their enemies round about, on their right hand and on their left. Of these three simultaneous judgments, the first two are spoken of as being inflicted by Gods own hand, for maggepha, rendered plague (which is used in the Hebrew for infliction, slaughter, plague, pestilence), always denotes a plague or judgment sent direct by God.**
* Chap. 12: 6. ** Ex. 9: 14; Num. 14: 39; 1 Sam. 6: 4.
The description of the plague is terribly realistic. Literally, He (Jehovah) makes his flesh to rot (or consume away), while he standeth on his feet ... which is perhaps intended to express the suddenness with which Gods stroke will alight upon him: And his eye (singular) shall consume away in their sockets (plural); and his tongue (singular) shall consume away in their mouth (plural). The thought which the prophet probably intends to express, by the use of the singular suffix, is that this terrible catastrophe shall overtake each one and the whole company. It is, as another has expressed it, the act of God in His individual justice to each one of all those multitudes gathered against Him. One by one their eyes, of which they said, Let our eye look (,or gaze) upon Zion* (i.e., with joy at her desolation), shall consume away in their sockets, and their tongue, with which (like Rabshakeh and the Assyrians in a former siege of Jerusalem **) they blasphemed God, shall consume away in their mouth - a truly terrible judgment, intended as a warning to men that it is a fearful thing to be arrayed against Jehovah and His Anointed, or against the people and the city with which He and His cause shall in that day he identified.
* Mic. 4: 11. ** Isa. 36: 18-22, 37: 4.
The , mhumath Yehovah - literally, a tumult of Jehovah, with which the gathered hosts shall also be seized in that day, is the supernatural panic and confusion which Jehovah sends among His enemies, with a view to their utter discomfiture and self-destruction. It is the same as the astonishment and madness with which the horses and the riders of these same hosts are spoken of as smitten in chap. 12: 4, and as a consequence they shall lay hold (hechziqu, a verb which is used generally but not exclusively of laying hold, or seizing violently with evil intent) every one on the hand of his neighbour. Each in that tumultuous, panic-stricken throng shall seize the others hand, mastering him powerfully,with a view to his destruction and his hand (i.e., each mans hand) shall be lifted up against the hand of his neighbour, with a view to deliver a deadly blow.
Such confusions or tumult the
Lord had sent before in the midst of
* Jud. 7: 22; 1 Sam. 13: 16-20.
But the historical instance of the
self-destruction of the enemies of Gods people by means of such a confusion or panic sent by the Lord, to which
the prophet seems specially to allude as an illustration of what will overtake
the confederated anti-Christian hosts in the future, is that recorded in 2 Chron. 20., when, in
answer to the prayer of Jehoshaphet, the hosts of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir,
which were gathered against Judah, suddenly fell on one another. And when they began
to sing and to praise, the Lord set liers in wait
against the children of
The first clause of the 14th verse
has been rendered by some, And
* The Targum has the mistranslation against, and so also the Vulgate; but the Septuagint
and the Syriac render properly at or in. Luther,
Calvin, Ewald, etc., follow the Vulgate;
Keil, Von Orelli, Pusey, Dr. Wright, and almost all competent modem Hebrew scholars,
translate in or at
Jerusalem. After the verb
(fight) the preposition
(be) is often used in a local sense, especially
when used in relation to places. The
very same idiom as in this passage in Zech. 14: 34
is found in Judg. 5: 19, where it certainly means fought in Taanach, and Ex. 5: 8.
Then came Amaleh and fought with
While their foes are consumed by the plague and engaged in fighting with one another in consequence of the confusion or tumult sent among them by the Lord, the remnant of Judah, also conscious now that the Captain of the Lords host is with them, and that Almighty power is now on their side, are suddenly stirred up to do valiantly and have a share in utterly destroying them.
One consequence of the utter discomfiture of these hosts around
Thus, in 2 Chron. 20., to which reference has already been made, after the overthrow of the hosts of Ammon and Moab and the inhabitants of Mount Seir, we read that Jehoshaphat and his people gathered into Jerusalem spoil in abundance, both riches and garments and precious jewels; and thus also, when the hosts of Syrians, who were besieging Samaria, were suddenly seized with panic, fled because the Lord had made them hear a noise of chariots and horses and of a great host - they left behind abundance of silver and gold and raiment.*
* 2 Kings 7: 2-8.
And inasmuch as these hosts, by their enmity against God and His people, have brought themselves under His ban for utter destruction, the animals which they have brought with them for this campaign against the holy land and city, will also be overtaken with the same fate as their masters.
And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, and of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in those camps as their masters.
This, as Hengstenberg points out, is in accord with the Mosaic law in reference to the cherem, or ban. When a whole city had committed the crime of idolatry, not only the inhabitants, but the animals also, were put to death; in which case the same law affecting the relation between the irrational and rational portions of the creation was repeated on a small scale as that which caused the animal creation to be subject to vanity, not willingly, on account of the sin of man. An instance of this we have in the case of Achan, whose oxen, asses, and sheep were stoned and burned, along with himself and his children.*
* Josh. 7: 24, 25.
Blessed be God, creation, which has become involved in the sin and consequent suffering and death of man, is to participate also in the benefits of the great redemption which has been accomplished by our Lord Jesus Christ, and shall yet be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.*
* Rom. 8: 20-22.
But there is a beneficent end in the very judgments of God, for through them the nations will at last learn righteousness, and the fruit will be universal homage to the Universal Ruler,* Jehovah of Hosts, and in the person of the Messiah, under whose sway all nations shall then be blessed. And it shall come to pass that every one that is left of all the nations that come up against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Jehovah of Hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
* Von Orelli.
First, it should be observed that when it is said that all
nations and families of the earth shall come up to Jerusalem from year to year
to worship Jehovah, and in acknowledgment of Israels national supremacy in the
millennial earth, it is not meant that every individual in each nation shall
come up, but that the nations shall come up
representatively. The actions of nations and all corporate bodies is always spoken
of in Scripture with reference to those who are officially appointed to express
or carry out their will. Thus in the
great gathering against
* B. W.
The commentators differ as to why the Feast of Tabernacles is singled out as the one which all the nations are represented in this prophecy as coming up to Jerusalem to celebrate; and very few see the deep typical and spiritual truth set forth by this Hag- Yehovah - the Feast of Jehovah,* as it is emphatically called in Lev. 23., which has been properly styled The Sacred Calendar of the History of Redemption, because it sets forth, by a series of striking types, not only the great facts, but the very order in which the various stages of Gods great redemption scheme for the world were to unfold themselves in the course of time. Briefly, it may be said that the nations are represented as coming up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles because the spiritual truths set forth by this particular type shall then be realised - for Jerusalem shall then be the metropolis of Gods Kingdom on earth, and the joy and blessedness foreshadowed by that feast will then not only be the portion of saved Israel, but shall also pervade all nations of the earth.
* Lev. 23: 39. Dr. Wright and others
have built an argument against the literal interpretation of this prophecy on Isa. 66: 23,
which, according to them, represents the Gentile
nations as going up to
But to understand this more clearly we must examine a little more fully the historical and prophetic character of this feast. Primarily* Tabernacles was, above all the other feasts, the harvest festival of joy and thanksgiving, in celebration not only of the full ingathering of the labours of the field, but also of the fruit and of the vintage, and is therefore pre-eminently styled the Feast of Ingatherings (Ex. 23: 16; 34: 22; Deut. 16: 13).
* This section on the Feast of Tabernacles is quoted here from the 1st chapter of Types, Psalms, and Prophecies, entitled The Sacred Calendar of the History of Redemption.
It had, moreover, a clear retrospective or commemorative significance, as is plainly stated in the command that they should dwell in booths: And ye shall take you on the first day the fruit of the goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and ye shall rejoice before Jehovah your God seven days;... ye shall dwell in booths seven days, ... that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am Jehovah your God (vers. 40-43) - an ordinance well calculated indeed to keep alive in their mind the grateful remembrance of the God of Israel, who sustained them miraculously in the wilderness, and led them by the hand of Moses, Aaron, and Joshua, safely into the promised land.
The Rabbis in later times regarded the Sukkah (tabernacle), in which they dwelt during the feast, as more especially symbolical of the cloud of glory which hovered over the Tabernacle, and which led and shielded Israel by day and illumined them by night in their forty years wilderness wanderings; but even the Mishna and the Talmud single out this feast from all the others as being of an anticipative or prophetic character, while Christian scholars and Bible students are in agreement that there is nothing in this dispensation to answer to the Feast of Tabernacles. No, its fulfilment is yet in the future, when, after Israels national Day of Atonement shall have come to pass, and the nation which was destined of God from the beginning to be the channel of blessing to the world shall have been reconciled and cleansed, and equipped by the power of God to go forth on its mission of spreading the knowledge of their Messiah over the whole earth, the great Feast of Ingathering shall take place, and all peoples shall sit down to the feast of fat things, yea, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, which Jehovah of hosts has prepared for them on Mount Zion.*
* Isa. 25. That these are not ideal comparisons, but the very design of the Feast of Tabernacles, appears not only from the language of the prophets and the peculiar services of the feast, but also from its position in the Calendar, and even from the names by which it is designated in Scripture. Thus in its reference to the harvest it is called Feast of Ingathering; in that to the history of Israel in the past, the Feast of Tabernacles; while its symbolic bearing on the future is brought out in its designation as emphatically the feast and the Feast of Jehovah. - Edersheim.
Though not part of the original Mosaic appointment, the
ceremonial service of this feast, which was in practice in the
1. Simchat-bet-ha-Shoebhah - literally, Joy of the House of Drawing (the water); or, the Ceremonial of Water Libation.
Every morning of the feast, a joyous procession, accompanied by music and headed by a priest bearing a golden pitcher, measuring just a little over two pints, made its way from the Temple courts to the Pool of Siloam. At the same time another procession went to the place in the Kedron valley called Moza, or Colonia, whence they brought willow branches, which they bound on either side of the altar of burnt-offering, bending them over towards it so as to form a kind of leafy canopy.
Then the ordinary sacrifice proceeded, the priest who had gone to Siloam so timing it that he returned just as his brethren carried up the pieces of the sacrifice to lay them on the altar. As he entered by the Water Gate, which obtained its name from this ceremony, he was received by a threefold blast from the priests trumpets. Amid great demonstrations of excitement and joy this water was poured into a silver basin, or tube, on the altar, simultaneously with the prescribed libation of wine, which was poured into another tube.
On the seventh day, called the Hoshanna rabba, the great Hosanna, the joy and excitement of
the people reached their climax. The
joyous crowds of worshippers on that day, seen from one of the flat roofs of
The joy accompanying this ceremonial was so great that it became a proverb. He that hath not seen Simchat-bet-ha-Shoebhah, the joy of the drawing (and the pouring) of the water, hath not seen joy in this life. Now, though the Rabbis attached a symbolic significance to the ceremonial in connection with the dispensation of the rain, the amount of which for the year they imagined was determined by God at this feast; and perhaps also a commemorative sense, as reminding them of the wonders God wrought in the wilderness in giving them water out of a rock, the main reference according to themselves, as already said, was to the future blessings to be bestowed on them in Messiahs time, and especially pointed to the pouring out of the Spirit; as is to be inferred from the singing by the multitude of Isa. 12: 3, and from the distinct statement in the Talmud (Jer., Sukkah v., also Tosefta Sukkah iv.). Why is it called Bet-ha-Shoebhah? (the joy of drawing or pouring). Because of the pouring of the Holy Spirit, according to what is said: With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. Now, in a limited though very blessed degree, this has already been fulfilled, for it was in reference to this ceremonial of the pouring of water that our Lord Jesus on the last day - the great day of the feast - stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water: and this He spake of the Spirit which they that believed were about to receive; in accordance with which, when once Jesus was glorified, on being raised from the dead and taken up to the right hand of God, the [Holy] Spirit came down from heaven like a rushing mighty wind, and the Church of this dispensation was formed, every living member of which knows experimentally of the indwelling of this blessed heavenly Paraclete.
In its fulness, however, such a prophecy
as Isa. 12. and the wonderful prediction of Joel
- And it shall come to pass afterward that I will
pour out My Spirit upon all flesh - will only be realised subsequent to
2. Another feature in the
At the conclusion of the first day of the feast the
worshippers congregated in the Court of the Women, where a great illumination
took place. Four huge golden lamps or
candelabras were there, each with four golden bowls, against which rested four
ladders. Four youths of priestly descent
ascended these with large pitchers of oil from which they filled each bowl. The old worn breeches and girdles of the
priests served for wicks for these lamps.
So great and brilliant was the light that, according to a saying, There was not a court in
This illumination, too, was regarded as of the same twofold
symbolic significance as the pouring of the water. It reminded them of the past
when God led them in the wilderness with the cloud of glory and the pillar of
fire of the Shekinah glory which dwelt in the first
Now this, too, has, in a partial degree, been already fulfilled, for He who cried, If any man thirst let him come unto Me and drink, at this same feast, and in reference to this illumination, again spake unto them, saying, I am the Light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life; and since then hundreds of millions who have heard His voice, and have followed in His steps, have had their hearts and souls, their present and their future eternity illumined by His Gospel. But while this is so, Israel, as a nation, still walks in darkness, and the other peoples of the earth are still covered by the shadow of death - until the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings, and the word shall go forth: Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of Jehovah is risen upon thee. Then nations, as nations, shall come to the light; and kings to the brightness of thy glory (Isa. 60: 1-3); and the promise confirmed by the oath of Him who cannot lie shall be fulfilled: As truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Jehovah (Num. 14: 21).
The Feast of Tabernacles was the only one that had an octave, the last and great day of the feast, the Azereth conclusion, or crowning feast of all the feasts of the year, as Philo, the Alexandrian, called it; on which Israel dwelt no longer in booths to remind them of the wilderness but returned to their homes to rejoice there, and to begin, so to say, a cycle beyond the one of seven which they had just completed.
Now the eighth day in Scripture is the Resurrection Day, and points, I believe, to the Eternal Day, after the cycle of time in which the history of the earth, as set forth in the Sacred Calendar of the History of Redemption, shall have been finished, when the consummation of earthly rest shall synchronise with the commencement of heavenly glory when a great voice out of the throne shall go forth, saying: Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people. And God Himself shall be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things have passed away (Rev. 21: 1-8).
Then, to conclude with the words of an old divine, the mystery, of the water which was poured upon the sacrifices shall be fulfilled, when He who is the Alpha and the Omega shall proclaim, It is done. I will give to him that is athirst of the water of life freely. Then He who, at the Feast of Tabernacles, invited sinners to come to Him and drink, shall lead His redeemed people by living fountains of water, and make them drink of the river of His pleasures. Then, too, the symbol of the palm branches shall he accomplished in the final victory of the redeemed over Death and Hades; and they shall realise the blessed fulfilment of the promise, He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My Son.
Then, too, shall be the great Hosanna, when that great multitude, which no man could number, out of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, shall stand before the throne of God, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, and shall cry with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb (Rev. 7: 9, 10).
During that blessed millennial
period the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah shall indeed cover the
earth, and all nations shall walk in His light.
Sin and iniquity will no longer be allowed to lift up their head, and
apostasy and rebellion will be visited with instant punishment whenever they
manifest themselves. Yet we know from
prophetic Scripture that the hearts of multitudes among the Gentile nations
will not be fully subdued to God and His truth, even in the Millennium, and
that many of them will render only a feigned submission to the Divine King,
whose throne shall be on
The word is to be taken first of all in its literal sense. The withholding of rain was one of the ways by which God was wont to punish the apostasy of His own people in the days of the theocracy,* and He now threatens to inflict it on the Gentile nations in case of disobedience. At the same time, there is also here a blending of the literal and the spiritual, and the punishment threatened includes also the withholding from the disobedient nations, or families, of the showers of Gods grace and blessing, of which the literal rain is often used in Scripture as an emblem.
* Comp. 1 Kings 17., 18.
For this punishment, in case of disobedience, there will be no exception and escape. This is the thought expressed in the two following verses: And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, then also not upon them there shall be the plague wherewith Jehovah will plague the nations that go not up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
This is the literal rendering of the words as they stand in the Hebrew text, but the actual meaning is not absolutely certain.*
* Most commentators supply the words
yihyeh haggashem, and not upon
(or neither upon them) shall be the rain. It is
possible, however, that the adverb,
before the word upon them, has crept in by
mistake from the previous line, and that the Septuagint is in this case likely
to be correct. By omitting one of the
negatives, it reads simply, And if the tribe of
* Kiel, Bredenkamp, and others contend, however, that the prophet mentions Egypt especially, not because of the fact in natural history that this land owes its fertility not to rain, but to the overflowing of the Nile - but as the nation which showed the greatest hostility to Jehovah and His people in the olden time, and for the purpose of showing that this nation was also to attain a full participation in the blessings of salvation bestowed upon Israel (comp. Isa. 19: 19-25).
The thought that
In the last two verses we reach the glorious goal and climax of vision and prophecy. Gods original purpose in the calling and election of Israel - Ye shall be unto Me a Kingdom of priests, an holy nation - shall at last be realised; the aim and purpose of the whole law,- namely, that His people might learn the meaning of holiness and become holy because Jehovah their God is holy; but to which, so long as they were in bondage to the law, they could not attain, shall at last be fulfilled when they are brought into a condition of grace, and when God shall put His law into their inward parts and write it on their hearts.
Then the world shall witness for the first time the glorious spectacle of a whole nation, and every individual member of it, wholly consecrated to Jehovah, and an earthly capital which shall truly answer to its name, The Holy City, because it shall in many ways be the earthly counterpart and reflection of the glory of the New Jerusalem, which will come down out of heaven from God.
And not only shall
, Qodesh la-Yehovah Holiness (or holy) unto the Lord be written on their persons, and on
all the outward and inward life of the whole community, but on everything they
possess. In that day shall there be (engraven) on the bells
of the horses, Holy unto Jehovah: and the pots in Jehovahs House
- which were used for the boiling of the sacrificial flesh, of which the
common people, as well as the priests, could eat, and were therefore regarded
as less holy shall be like the bowls before the altar - in which the blood of the
sacrifices was received, and out of which it was sprinkled, or poured, upon the
altar, and therefore regarded as most holy.
In the words of a deep student of Scripture, The
whole external character of life - that which is exhibited in the streets of a
city (represented by the tinkling-sound of the bells of the passing horses)
shall bear in all its parts, throughout all its detail, the impress of holiness
unto the Lord. Religious life and
fellowship shall be holy also; for the pots in the Lords House, vessels which
of old the priests had so often defiled, shall be like the bowls of the
altar. Private and domestic life shall
be hallowed too; for every pot in
The distinction between holy and
profane can only cease, however, to quote yet another writer, when the sin and moral defilement which first evoked this
distinction, and made it
necessary that the things intended for the service of God should be set apart and receive a special consecration, have been
entirely removed and wiped away. To
remove this distinction, to prepare the way for the cleansing away of sin, and to
sanctify once more that which sin had desecrated, was the object of the sacred
institutions appointed by God. To this
Finally, there shall be no more a Canaanite in the House Jehovah of Hosts in that day. The Hebrew word , Khenaani, means also trader, or merchant, because in early times the Canaanites, especially the Phoenicians, were known in the world as traders. Some therefore prefer to render the clause, There shall no more be a trafficker in the House of the Lord, which is also the rendering of the Jewish Targum. But whether we take the term Canaanite to stand for the unclean and the godless, or understand it as meaning merchant or trafficker, the sense is practically the same. Nothing that defileth, or that maketh an abomination or a lie, or that could disturb the peace or mar the holiness, shall in anywise be permitted to enter that House, which in that day shall be the House of Prayer for all nations.
For this shall be the law of the House: upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the House. *
* Ezek. 43: 12.
* * *
[* Written by a reader of Dawn from the start.]
Hail to the Lords Anointed.
Great Davids greater Son,
Who for each helpless sinner
Eternal life has won.
For bitter was the battle
And greater still the shame,
To make us His forever
That we with Him might reign.
For He is our Rabboni,
Our Saviour, Lord, and King,
And we would by His Spirit
His praises ever sing.
All eager for His coming
And working for that Day,
If sleep should overtake us
Yet rise in bright array.
Then lets be up and doing
And never idle stand,
If we would give Him pleasure:
The day is near at hand.
C. S. KINGSTON.
He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne: (Rev. 3: 21, R.V.).
But forget not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day: 2 Pet. 3: 8, R.V.).