Page images

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 for- . ward 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

that talked with Zechariah.) “ The angel said unto the shepherds, Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy; for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God (because He is good, and his mercy endureth for ever), and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace; good-will towards men.”

Thus was the true head-stone brought forth with shouts of heavenly benediction, crying, “Grace, grace, unto it!" Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things ? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel,”(“Whosoever hath despised the small beginnings, shall rejoice when they see Zerubbabel vigorously setting about the work, and carrying it on successfully,”*) “ with those seven ; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro, through the whole earth ;" exactly corresponding with the relation given to Ezra, (v. 2, 5,) namely, that “Zerubbabel and Joshua began to build the house of God at Jerusalem ; and with them were the prophets of God helping them. At the same time came Tatnai, governor, and Shethar-boznai, and their companions, and endeavoured to interrupt the work. But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease.” Thus fulfilling the prophecy upon which we are now commenting ; " who hath despised the day of small things ? for they shall re-. joice and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel, with those seven; they are the eyes of Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth,” and who is now in the most special and irresistible manner superintending and prospering the work: overruling the machinations of all who oppose the completion of the building of the house of the Lord; which we read (Ezra vi.) was finished in the sixth year of the reign of Darius, (ver. 15,) through a decree made by that potent monarch. (ver. 12.)

* Orton.

This survey has, we think, justified the premised observation, by eliciting that the occasion on which these glorious types, the candlestick, bowl, lamps, and olive-branches were displayed, was precisely that which renders it most highly probable, if not certain, that they were designed to represent the blessed Trinity.

We know that the usual interpretation of these magnific types suppose the two olivebranches, branching forth from the golden candlestick, to be representative of Zerubbabel and Joshua; but as, on heavenly authority, we are informed that the candlestick symbolised the Lord of the whole earth, we cannot but think that such an interpretation is wholly dissonant with the real meaning. The branches conjoined to the candlestick might have been, with perhaps equal probability, supposed to typify the prophets Haggai

and Zechariah ; and though Zerubbabel the governor of Judea, and Joshua the high priest, were certainly the two leading men in rebuilding the temple, yet the history, in several instances, mentions, and even commences by speaking of them on terms of equality with the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin. (Ezra i. 5.) In the third chap. ver. 1, it is said that “the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem,” and that “then stood up Jeshua and Zerubbabel;" and ver. 8 runs as follows: “ In the second month began Zerubbabel and Jeshua, and the remnant of their brethren the priests, (who were all anointed persons,) and the Levites, to set forward the work of the house of the Lord.” In the 4th chapter, when the adversaries of Judah opposed the work, they addressed themselves unto Zerubbabel and the chief of the fathers. These recitals show, that though Zerubbabel and Jeshua were the leading men, yet that they only set forward the important work of re-erecting the temple at Jerusalem, in conjunction with the other chiefs of Judah and Benjamin ; and that, therefore, there is little or no reason to suppose that the typical olivebranches, branching from the Lord of the whole earth, could be intended as representative of them.

But there is also a further consideration which materially weakens, if it does not altogether do away, the justness of the supposition on which we have been descanting. For in the Apocalypse we find the evangelist St. John describing a vision almost exactly similar to that beheld by the

prophet Zechariah.

“ And there was given me a reed, like unto a rod : and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the aitar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple (that is, the probationary heavens) leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles : and the boly city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive-trees and the two candlesticks (the two glorious luminaries) standing before (and, as Zechariah viewed them, conjoined unto) the God of the whole earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth and devoureth their enemies : and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that

« PreviousContinue »