« PreviousContinue »
Chapter ii, 4-12.
Next we come to the Prophet Zechariah, who with Haggai, prophesied after the return of Judah from Babylon.k
It often has been very grievous in my eyes, to see how Authors commonly follow one another in expounding Scripture, as if they were rather led by human example, than by divine reason. Take this for an instance; that they successively dictate, (not demonstrate,) that the great call to the Jews in the sixth verse "To come forth and flee from the land of the north, &c." relates to those of the two tribes that tarried behind, when the rest of them returned. Ecolampadius indeed, and Pellican are both with me; and I confess, that I am glad of the bare company in opinion of them that are learned, were it only to wipe off singularity; though I had rather have one of their reasons than a hundred of their names.
Now it is clear, that this place of Scripture is a prophecy of future things; for from the fourth verse it speaks of things that shall come to pass, and which God will do. And the exhortation in the sixth verse is expressly extended, not only to the Jews in “the north,” viz. Babylon; but to all of them "spread abroad to the four winds:" the connexion of which shows, that to gather them from the four winds means, their coming out of the north. Accordingly the Septuagint reads it N, w, PEVYETE απο γης βορρα, λεγει Κύριος: διοτι εκ των τεσσαρων ανεμων του ovpavov ovvaέw vμas i. e. “Ho, ho, flee from the land of the north, saith the Lord; because I will gather you from the four winds of heaven." So at chap. viii, v. 2, "Behold I will "save my people from the east country, and from the west "country; and I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the "midst of Jerusalem." When Zechariah delivered this, the two tribes had been returned from Babylon into Judea near sixteen years. For, as the best chronologers reckon, they returned from Babylon A. M. 3435, and Zechariah prophesied in 3451 leaving a good time for those Jews to take heart to
k See Haggai i, 1-6 and Zech. i, 1, 6, 16.
return, that are said to have lingered behind the rest, either through fear of the king's sincerity, or of the success of their fore-runners in Judea. Doubtless, therefore, by this time most of the people of Judah were returned. Josephus boldly affirms, and Sanctius approves the account, that there returned of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin 4,628,000; which may appear to have some truth in it, if we compare Ezra ii, 61—65 and Neh. xiii, 3. And truly the great work they did in rebuilding the temple, repairing the city walls, and their bountiful offerings at the dedication, speak aloud, that they were a very numerous people. It is therefore very unlikely, that the Prophet should in that exhortation chiefly mind a gleaning of lingerers in Babylon.
But further, this exhortation is by the apostles, carried down to the latter, if not to the last, times of this world. For St. Paul brings it down to his time, in those words; Come out
from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, (mark "his quotation of the Old Testament,) and touch not the un
clean thing, and I will receive you, and be a father unto you:"i just to the same effect as Zechariah vi, 17, 18, "Come "forth, flee from the land of the north, &c. Deliver thyself, O
Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon, &c. Lo I "come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord." Thus far St. Paul extends it; but St. John extends it much further, and that in a prophetical way, viz. to the time nearly preceding the fall of Babylon: "I saw another angel come "down from heaven, &c. and he cried mightily with a strong voice saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, &c. And "I heard another voice from heaven saying, come out of her my "people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye re"ceive not of her plagues." Which two last clauses, being of a future signification, clearly show, that the words "is fallen, is fallen" mean, it shall fall; and that therefore the people of God must timely come out thence.
But there are also high strains annexed to this prophecy
* Lib. xi, cap. 3. A gross and notorious error in Josephus. The utmost that can be made from Ezra and Nehemiah is about 50,000, which number includes servants, &c. ED.
i 2 Cor. vi, 17, 18.
which effectually evince that it is not yet fulfilled. First, "I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her :" (v. 5) i.e. a fence about the Church (consisting of Jews and Gentiles) of absolute defence to them, and of devouring offence to the enemy. Again, "Thus saith the Lord, after the glory hath he sent me to the nations, which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you, touch"eth the apple of his eye. For behold I will shake mine hand
upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants; and "ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me." (vv. 8, 9.) i.e. after this glory of your famous return and rebuilt temple, the Lord hath sent me, the Messiah, to the nations that spoiled you, who, in touching you to hurt you, did as it were thrust their fingers into mine eyes. Therefore I the Messiah will shake mine hands upon them, to break them with a rod of iron; (as in Ps. ii, 9;) and so to make them a spoil to their servants, i.e. to you, whom they rigidly made their servants. Lastly, "Sing and rejoice O 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 chuse Jerusalem again. Be silent, O all flesh before "the Lord, because he is raised up out of (awakened concerning -see the Heb.) his holy habitation." Now, when were these sublime expressions ever yet fulfilled? We have a watchword in the twelfth verse, that we must look for the fulfilment of them far beyond Zechariah's time: for though, when he prophesied, he saw the return of the Jews into the Holy Land, yet still he says," the Lord shall inherit Judah, his portion in the Holy Land, and shall chuse Jerusalem again." Surely if we keep the prophecy together, as the Lord hath said it, there was never yet that time and state of the Church, which is here limned forth to the life :-viz. that it should consist of Jews and Gentiles joined to the Lord, and owned by him, as his people, even while the Jews possess the Holy Land; and the Lord as a wall of fire, protecting them, and devouring their enemies; and making the Jews to be the spoilers of the heathen, instead of their servants;
and these things carried to that height of glory, that all spiritual hearts sing and rejoice,' and all fleshly hearts are struck dumb with silence.
Chapter vi, 12-15.
Though this second temple was founded, and by this time in great part raised, (chap. viii, v. 9,) and the completion of the work by sufficient and able men was now in progress; yet the Prophet here foretels, “that the man whose name is the BRANCH (the frequent title of Christ) shall build the temple of the Lord;" repeated again with great emphasis-" even he shall build the temple of the Lord." (vv. 12, 13.) Therefore in these words he looked far beyond his own time. Christ builds the temple, first in his natural body, secondly in his mystical; for subordinates are no opposites, but emit a typical radiation successively from the one to the other. First, in his natural body, by his resurrection; according to his own exposition, when asked "What sign showest thou unto us, seeing thou dost these "things? Jesus answered, destroy this temple, and in three days "I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, forty and six years was "this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? "But he spake of the temple of his body." Secondly, in his mystical body, the Church; by communicating to whom his Holy Spirit, he makes them his temple,' and the habitation of God.'k This mystical temple was founded long since; but the Prophet here chiefly points to its completion. Or, to speak in a juster proportion to the first and second material temple, the first mystical temple, the church of the Jews, being destroyed at Christ's passion; (the veil then being rent, to signify the tearing down of Jewish worship;) upon his ascension he began, by sending the Spirit, to build the second mystical temple, viz. the Christian Church, and when this second mystical temple shall be finished, of which finishing Zechariah (v. 15) gives us this sign," that then, they that are afar off shall come and build in the temple;" which can have no other adequate interpretation than, that when the Gentiles, which are afar off in religion,
i John ii, 18-21.
k 1 Cor. vi, 15-19; 2 Cor. vi, 16; Ephes. ii, 21, 22. 1 See Rom. xi, 25, 26, and the Apocalypse.
shall in full come in; and when the ten tribes of Israel, that are to this day afar off both in religion and place, shall come and be built into the Christian Church ;-then, even at that very time, the BRANCH Christ, that built this second mystical temple, "shall sit and rule upon his throne, and he shall be a priest upon his throne, and the council of peace shall be between them both." (ver. 13.) That is, as Christ hath sensibly appeared in acting his priesthood, when he prayed and paid for his Church, before and at his passion ;m so shall he as manifestly be seen to act his kingly office, in a glorious, universal evident peace, flowing from both, in the time of his kingdom. Else nothing is prophesied; for mere inward and spiritual peace had flowed into the hearts of the saints in all ages of the Church, from his kingly and priestly office; and the saints knew it upon good experience but here is prophesied such things, and such effects, as many of the Church could hardly believe. And therefore "there should be crowns to Helem and Tobijah, and Jedaiah, and to Hen for a memorial in the temple;" (ver. 14;) i. e. they should be in Zechariah's time hung up in the temple, for the conviction and condemnation of them that believed not on this prophecy; and to draw men unto faith to believe the same, as Calvin, Pemble, and Junius expound.
Chapter viii, 20-23.
Here, and in ver. 22, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts: It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come peoples,* and the in"habitants of many cities; and the inhabitants of one city shall "go to another, saying, let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, "and to seek the Lord of hosts; I will go also. Yea many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. Thus saith 'the Lord of hosts in those days it shall come to pass, that "ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, " even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, we will go with for we have heard that God is with you.' I shall add no more to this very plain prophecy, except boldly to assert (till men or books can show us the contrary) that it
m John xvii-xix. * Dry Sept. Aao odλoi.