Page images
[ocr errors]

against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even unto the reign of Darius king of Persia.” (Ezra iv. 145.) Then ceased the work of the house of God, which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of Darius, king of Persia. Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.” (Ezra iv. 24; v. 1.)

“ In the second year of Darius the king, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel, and to Joshua the high priest, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built. Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house to lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord. And the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Haggai, saying, Speak now to Zerubbabel, and to Joshua the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, and all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work : for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts : according to the word that I cove

nanted with

you when ye came out of Egypt, so my Spirit remaineth among you : fear ye not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former, saith the Lord of hosts : and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts,” (Hag.i. and ii.;) “ from this day will I bless you.” (ii. 19.)

Can we peruse these prophecies, without feeling assured, that the prophet Haggai had been fully illuminated with a knowledge of the divinity of the Saviour; for as Prideaux observes, “ When the desire of all nations, the Lord, whom they sought, came to this his temple, and Christ our Saviour, who was the truest Shekinah of the divine Majesty, honoured it with his presence, in this respect the glory of the latter house did far exceed the glory of the former house ; and herein the prophecies of the prophet Haggai, which foretold it should be so, had a very full and thorough completion."

Furthermore: “In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, (the same year as to Haggai,) came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, Behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. Then the angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me with good words, and comfortable words. So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. Therefore thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies : my house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad, and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and sball yet choose Jerusalem.” (Zech.i, 1–17.) “I will be to her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.” (ii.5.)

Sing and rejoice, 0 daughter of Zion; for lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people : and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, О all flesh, before the Lord : for he is raised up out of his holy habitation. And he shewed me Joshua the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner : this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.") And he shall bring forth the typical head-stone thereof “ with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it!"

It is recorded, Ezra iii, 8, 9, 10, that in the second year of the return of the children of Israel from the Babylonish captivity,“they,” Zerubbabel and Joshua, and the remnant of their brethren, the priests and the Levites, began to set forward the work of the house of the Lord.” And when the builders laid the foundation-stone of the temple of the Lord (on which, as Josephus informs us, was written Tetragammaton, or the ineffable name of God,) they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel. And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house was laid.” Thus fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah unto Zerubbabel, namely, that he should bring forth the typical head-stone with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace, unto it! But when Almighty God brought forth the blessed true head-stone, then the celestial hierarchies enraptured pealed his praise. The glory of the Lord shone round about the shepherds of Judea, instructing the angel that talked with them, to speak good words and comfortable words unto them, (as before had the angel

entirely correspond with the relation of Ezra, namely, that the elders of the Jews builded and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah. And the subject matter of these verses, which we now proceed to transcribe, are distinctly delivered for the encouragement of Zerubbabel and those who had with him undertaken the rebuilding of the temple of the Lord; as also was this glorious typical revelation we have just contemplated, with which this encouraging prophecy was accompanied, and indeed involved. “ Then the angel that talked with me, answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be ? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. “ As the olive branches are supplied with oil in a secret invisible manner, (as we have just seen depicted,) so the temple shall be finished and the nation established, not by human power and force, but by the powerful operations of God's Spirit upon the hearts of the kings of Persia and of the Jewish people.”*

" Who art thou, O great mountain ? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain :" all and the greatest obstacles, though they be huge as mountains, shall be removed from out of his way, and levelled to a plain :) " and he shall bring forth the head-stone thereof:” (and that Messiah was the head-stone, he himself identified,-“ Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone

* Orton.

« PreviousContinue »