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Aristobulus) in a pitched battle, slaying three thousand Jews, and taking as many prisoners. As for the history after Christ, it is more familiarly known, that Titus, the Roman Emperor, about A.D. 70, destroyed Jerusalem, both city and temple; (as likewise did Adrian, the Roman Emperor after him, about A.D. 133 ;) and so Rome successively held it, till the Saracens and Turks won it from them and continue to hold it till this day. And upon the same ground of history I may put unanswerable questions upon most of the chapter following : as, When since their return, was Jerusalem “ ever a burthensome stone to all people of the earth, to cut them all in pieces that shall burthen themselves with it ?" (v. 3.) When“ hath every horse been stricken with astonishment, and his rider with madness?" (v. 4.) When “could the governors of Judah say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem, under God, shall be my strength ?” (v. 5.) When“ have the governors of Judah been “ like a hearth of fire amongst the wood, and like a torch of “ fire in a sheaf, devouring all the people round about, &c. ?" (v. 6.) When“ hath the Lord so saved the tents of Judah, and " defended the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that he that was feeble among
them was made as David, and the house of “ David as Elohim, and as the angel of JEHOVAH ; and hath
sought to destroy all the nations that come against Jeru
salem ?” Mind the breviat of history before recited, and look
upon the state of the Jews at this day, and we cannot but expect the particulars yet to come. And upon the same grounds (adding the history of the conduct of the Jews towards Christ, penned by the Evangelists; and the context in the ninth verse,
“ At that day it shall come to pass,” viz. at the time that the former part of the chapter shall be fulfilled, with a collation of Rev. i, 7 and Matt. xxiv, 30 ;) we may as boldly question, When were those things ever yet fulfilled, mentioned in verses 10–14; That God would so pour out upon
the " house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit “ of grace and supplication, that they shall look on him whom “ they have pierced, and mourn for him with great bitterness, “ each family mourning apart ?" This cannot be imagined to be fulfilled by the Jews, before Christ was pierced : the argument of two Jews of late, with one of whom I had conference, is,--that they expect the Messiah yet to come, to convert their nation, because they must see him with a penitent eye after he is pierced.
Chapter xiv, 3—21.
This, the last place in Zechariah which we shall bring forward, was anciently (as Jerome confesses) urged both by Jews and Christians, for the glorious time yet to come, of which we treat.
“ Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of Kerab :" (277) which word, as it signifies conflicting, so also beginning, or approaching near ; and may be fitly applied to God's assisting the Jews in the beginning of their wars, (as against Amalek and Og, &c.) when they approached near towards Canaan. The word 'then' points to the times following the coming up of all nations against Jerusalem, &c. (v. 2,) which ruin was to take place long after this prophecy, as is hinted in the future expression of the first verse.
For the Prophet dispatched in the thirteenth chapter what belonged to the time of Christ's passion; and it was a long time after Christ, ere 'all nations' (confining the word all to the four monarchies) did so miserably ruin Jerusalem, as is described in the second verse. For the Romans did it not the first time, till seventy years before Christ's incarnation ; nor did the Saracens of Asia till about A.D. 1009. But let the reader fix this devastation of Jerusalem where he will, still we are at a loss, and all our books cannot help us to tell, when “ The Lord went out to fight all those nations, that fought against Jerusalem, as he did at first when he overthrew Amalek, &c." A mere spiritual notion will not help us out, seeing the text expounds itself, " That the Lord will go out, and fight against the nations that spoil Jerusalem-as he fought at first,” when the Jews approached Canaan; or (to keep to our common translation,) "as when he fought in the day of battle :" which exposition were superfluous, had a spiritual sense been mainly intended. And, if it were intended, yet is it not to this day fulfilled; for the enemies of Jerusalem are neither converted by grace, nor confounded in hell.
It is true, that scarcely any prophecy is without some allegory; “ His feet
but to convert all into a spiritual sense, seems to me impossible, without either contradicting the text or one's self. For how can we presume upon a spiritual sense, when it is said, “shall stand upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem
on the east, &c. which shall cleave in the midst, &c.” And again, “ Ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains, which shall “ reach to Azal, &c. as ye fled from the earthquake in the days of
Uzziah ; and the Lord my God shall come and all the saints " with thee ?" Again, “ That there shall be a distinct one day, " and known to the Lord, not day, nor night; but the evening “shall be light ?" (vv. 4—7.) Surely, if the light of Gospel times is meant, (as some will have it,) it is no distinct time, nor one measured day of a round number of years, be it of few or many: for it is now above 1620 years, since the first preaching of Christ; which also hath been as well known to us, as to the Lord. And how does the ninth verse consist with a mere spiritual notion, " That the Lord SHALL BE king over all the earth : in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one ?” For the Lord from the beginning hath been king in power and grace; secretly ordering and sanctifying whomsoever and wheresoever he has pleased, over the face of the earth : therefore this same shall, must import a future visible monarchy, before which all must so fall down, that they cast away their idols, and adore Him alone with one uniform way of worship according to his will. And it is equally difficult consistently to attach a spiritual sense to the rest of the chapter ; as for example, That all the land shall be turned “ as a plain (pervious and profitable for habitation)
from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem. So that it shall be “ lifted up (in the opinion of men) and inhabited in her place, “ from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the
corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's
wine-presses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be “ no more utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhab"ited. And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will “smite all the people that fight against Jerusalem ; their flesh “shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their
eyes shall consume away in their holes, &c. And so shall be “the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, of the ass, “ and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, &c." All this is wonderfully circumstantial.
Men may fancy nevertheless that spirituals are meant, because the residue of the nations that came up against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the Lord, and keep the feast of tabernacles. (v. 16.) But we showed,d that even in the Old Testament, as well as in the New, Gospel truths are sometimes clothed with Jewish language, and Levitical phrases ; and there is scarcely a Gospel expression in the New Testament, that is not dressed forth with one or more tropes and figures : as “ Come to me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" "a bruised reed shall he not break, &c.” Yet Christ is no porter, nor are Christians reeds, in a literal sense. Besides, there is no more expressed in the words of Zechariah, than that they shall go up, once a year, and at the feast of tabernacles, to signify our deliverance from the Egypt of the world; as Israel going out of topical Egypt, first pitched in Succoth, (that is booths) and, in memorial of that deliverance, praised God yearly in the feast of booths. So we hereafter shall often congratulate our Lord with hallelujahs for our deliverance from the Egyptian world, which is foretold in the Revelation.e To this day we pray in hope; but then, when the great restoration of the Church, and restitution of all things is come, we shall praise with joy. And whoever will not shall be plagued with temporal plagues ; for all that will then exist in peace must be holiness to the Lord. (vv. 17 and 20.)
If all those material expressions and corporal circumstances, before instanced, will not awaken some men ; but they will still sleep and dream pleasant dreams of figurative meanings, and will not see the visible glory here prophesied of; then I would entreat them to tell us their dreams, from point to point, upon every verse: viz. when all nations at enmity with the Jews were spiritually destroyed ;-when the rest, that united with them, did jointly with them own the Lord as king over all the earth, in one way of worship ;-when was Jerusalem safely inhabited, as free even from spiritual evils;—and how could the horse, and the mule, and the camel, and the ass, and all beasts be spiritually plagued ?
There is but one thing more that I will add, viz, that those of
d On Zephaniah, page 201.
e Rev. xi, 8 ; xix, 1-6.
the learned, that have endeavoured to force out of this text a spiritual meaning, have (I know not how) been compelled to let fall many considerable admissions of a literal sense. A. Lapide applauds Jerome for his spiritual interpretation of this prophecy; and yet within a very few lines he says : “ I say there"fore, according to the letter, it is here signified, that Jerusalem " is to be taken by Antiochus Epiphanes, and to be restored
by the Maccabees !”—which is not only untrue in itself ; but contradictory of what he had just before declared. Calvin also, whilst contending much for a spiritual sense, has these words on the third verse,—“the Lord shall go forth and fight against those nations, as he fought in the day of battle.” “ Zechariah (saith “he) tells the Jews, You have often fought with the strongest "enemies; they have been conquered, and that when you have “ been very unequal in number and power : seeing therefore
the Lord hath so often, and so many ways cast down your enemies, why shall ye not hope for the same thing from him."
Calvin confesses that the major part of authors understand this chapter of the second coming of Christ, though he and our new Annotators incline to interpret it of his first coming. They admit however, even in this sense, that the things contained in this chapter shall not be completely fulfilled till the second coming of Christ. Jerome, our great adversary, though on this chapter he inveighs against the Jews and Judaizers, for their expecting Elijah to come in person ; yet upon Matthew xi, 14 and xvii, 11, he clearly teaches that Elijah must come in person.*
That this chapter respects a state of the Church under the
* Sunt qui propterea Johannem Heliam vocari, quod quodam modo in secundo salvatoris adventu,
juxta Malachiam præcessurus est Helias, et venturum Judicem nunciaturus: Sic Johannes in primo adventu fecerit. Et uterque fit nuncius, 'vel primi adventus Domini vel secundi. Jerome on Matt. xi, 14. Scribis et Pharisæis tentantibus se, et de coelo signa poscentibus, dare noluit, sed pravam postulationem confutavit responsione prudenti. Hic vero ut Apostolorum augeat fidem, dat signum de coelo, Elia inde descendente quo conscenderat, et Moyse ab inferis resurgente." Jerome on Matt. xvii, 11.